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The award worth FCFA 15 million was handed over to the winning team in Yaounde over the weekend at the close of the inaugural ICT Innovation Week.
Agrix Tech has emerged winner of the inaugural National Competition for Best Digital Innovation Project of the Year 2019. The artificial intelligence mobile application, which detects plant diseases and offers both chemical and physical solutions, got the Special Prize of the President of the Republic worth FCFA 15 million. The award was handed over to the winning team of six over the weekend by the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, Minette Libom Li Likeng, on behalf of the Prime Minister, Head of Government, at the close of the ICT Innovation Week. Smartscope and Transport Intelligent respectively took the second and third positions.
According to Reine Mbang Essobmadje, Co-founder of Coalition Digitale and President of the Jury, the Agrix Tech project was the most outstanding of all entries due to its originality, innovative approach, relevance and impact on the population. She disclosed that over 700 entries were received from across the national territory, of which 272 were deemed eligible for the competition. Some 15 entries were then shortlisted for the finals and intensive training, though one finalist was absent for unknown reasons.
The prizes given to the winner as well as other laureates include amongst others: cash, laptop, connected modem, training with the International Telecommunications Union, internship offer at Camtel, Orange Cameroun, and ACMAR Media Group, as well as participation in the coaching programme offered by Ericsson Academia in Dubai, UAE.
Chiatoh Maryben, team member of Agrix Tech, told Cameroon Tribune the recognition spurs them to take Cameroon to the next level in ICT. “Most farmers just do a cocktail of many pesticides to be able to fight plant diseases because they are not very sure of which pest is attacking their crops. This is dangerous for humans and the environment. But with the app, its going to help them detect the pest and provide solutions,” she said. Chiatoh noted that the cash prize of FCFA 6 million is going to help them acquire data sets. “We need to take lots of pictures because this is an AI project. It will also enable us to increase our team. In the next five years, we want Africa to be talking about Agrix Tech,” the entrepreneur underscored.