Start-Up Jamaica alum, Revofarm, pitches app in Peru

Saturday, January 10, 2015

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A Jamaican team of app creators participated in a recent 'hackathon' designed to provide farmers with information to help them adapt to climate variability.

The 24-hour event, held November 29 to 30, 2014 at the International Potato Centre (CIP) in Lima, Peru, was organised by CGIAR-- a global partnership that unites organisations engaged in research for a food-secure future -- in association with the Research Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).

The Jamaican team, Revofarm, comprises CEO Ricardo Gowdie, Oshane Gooden, and Warren Robinson. They were the only invitees from the Caribbean and their participation was sponsored by CIP, a member of the CGIAR consortium.

"It was because we were participants in Start-Up Jamaica that we made connections that allowed us to be a part of this hackathon in Peru," a news release quoted Gowdie, who explained that Start-Up Jamaica played a vital role in Revofarm's development.

"Entrepreneurial skills we gained while at Start-Up Jamaica helped us a lot in organising our project; and the lessons we received on pitching at the Bootcamp last September, and since then, have vastly improved our skills in this area," Gowdie added. "We also thank CIP for sponsoring us... and giving us this fantastic opportunity to showcase our app."

The "hackathon" gave Latin American developers and computer programmers first access to cloud-based data. The challenge was to transform the available data into actionable knowledge that will help farmers better adapt to climate variability.

RevoFarm's app connects local farmers to their markets via SMS and gives up-to-date market information, alerting farmers about new developments. The app also allows extension officers to recommend new farming and climate-smart practices that are posted online and that give farmers the opportunity to try and rate them. It therefore helps to foster adaptation to climate change while boosting productivity and income, helps farmers to reduce the risk of crop failure, and have better yields.

The hackathon, though starting out as a competition, gradually became an opportunity for the teams to help each other. The Revofarm team got along especially well with the Colombian team, Geomelodicos, which won the competition with an app that helps farmers to more accurately predict when to plant their crops each season.


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