Inqola FEED Innovation Prize
The Prize was created to highlight ideas and solutions that have the potential to create meaningful impact on the food system in South Africa. Globally, we are seeing an ever-increasing use of technology to drive change in the food system – innovators are finding new methods of farming, including in the harshest conditions, or in urban environments, finding new pathways for food to reach people, or new ways to decrease or re-utilise waste generated from food. The food system is ripe for innovation, and tech has a critical role to play. FEED and partners believe that a more open and participatory food system is the best path to creating a more equitable one. We advocate for giving people the tools for creating change in their own lives, and our activities in the food system revolve around systemic changes that would enable this shift.
Why Internet-based Solutions?
The internet is playing a major role in changing how society functions, and in opening up information and markets. It allows people from around the planet to connect to one another in new and unimagined ways, opening up pathways for the exchange of information, experience and products. An internet-based solutions can spread quickly, it does not require the use of specialised equipment for each and every application, so potential solutions to problems can be just a click away. We believe that ICT / internet-based solutions can have a relatively fast impact on the food system, as evidenced by C-19 People’s Coalition activity over the last year. As part of this effort, we realised that many active organisations in the food system were looking for internet-based solutions to issues they’ve faced, issues in finding and organising smallholder farmers, issues in handling logistics for food deliveries, issues in finding food waste that could be repurposed, in finding cost-effective farming inputs for smallholder farmers and much more. Since this is the inaugural IFIP, this year is both focused and broad: the 2021 Prize will focus on Internet-based solutions (i.e. apps, platforms and websites) that seek to innovate one or more parts of the food system. This Prize gives entrants the opportunity to creatively address issues in the food system using existing or new technologies, with a emphasis on Strategy, Innovation, Systems Thinking, Collaboration, Inclusivity and Impact.
Based on our research and engagements in the food system, we have also identified Thematic Areas that we believe, if covered by the Solutions presented, will make a more meaningful difference to the food system in South Africa.
With a focus on value chains within a particular community or geographical setting, local economies are still connected to other scales of economies but are distinct in their characteristics, nuances and mechanics. In the context of difficult economic and environmental circumstances, there has been a renewed interest in local economies in recent years since a localised focus has the potential to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship, create local jobs, keep money in local communities, create a shared identity, increase community economic health, decrease businesses’ carbon footprints and more.
The concept of circularity (i.e. a closed loop system) features centrally in the emerging school of circular economics. This model has inspired governments, businesses and non-profits to carefully think about how they manage and decrease their waste, as well as how to use their waste cleverly. The food system is especially important to think about in a circular manner, given that waste at the levels of production, processing, distribution and consumption account for a significant percentage of all waste (and pollutants) globally.
Zeroing in on supply chains is one of the ways of bringing a systems-thinking approach to life. By thinking through how a particular product or service travels through the chain, either excluding or including, positively or negatively affecting stakeholders, innovators can be more deliberate about the kind of impact they want to achieve. Strengthening supply chains is also part and parcel of risk management and building back better after Covid-related disruptions.
The agroecology movement focuses on the intersection between agriculture and the natural environment, especially in the context of climate change and inequality. While it is often associated with organic farming practices, agroecology goes much deeper and integrates indegenous and traditional knowledge into all facets of the food system. In South Africa, a growing body of farmers, businesses, activists, academics and others is convening to discuss ways to enable and mainstream agroecological thinking and practices.
Building capacity among food system actors is critical if we are to empower people to participate meaningfully. This could take the form of: training, apprenticeships, workshops, peer-peer mentoring, ongoing support, ecosystem building, resource access and so forth. Capacity building is best delivered through an integrated approach, where development outcomes are linked to programmes, tools and operating streams.
Who should enter?
The following is the criteria of Solutions we are looking for:-
- Solutions can be existing or new
- if you have an existing Solution, enter and tell us about the next stage of your development, an innovative or interesting idea that would take you to the next stage of your development or your plans for future success.
- if you have an idea for a new Solution, enter and tell us what your idea or innovation will be, how you intend to develop it, and the team you have put together to execute your plan.
- Solutions must be Internet-based (i.e. apps, platforms and/or websites)
- Solutions must focus on execution in South Africa
- Solutions must have a legally registered entity in South Africa (if collaborating with partners, one entity must be selected as the lead entity for entry)
- Only the online entry form (accessible after registering for the Prize) will be deemed as an acceptable form of entry
Please read the Terms and Condition if you would like a comprehensive understanding of the rules for entry into the Prize.and shows consideration of the five (5) Thematic Areas,
What will you win?
The winner will receive R100,000 and the runner-up will receive R50,000.
The Prize closes on 25 June 2021 at 17:00 (South African Standard Time). Winners will be announced on 25 July 2021.