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Agri-thon: A plan to feed the future

Sri Lanka is an agricultural-based county. One-third of the country’s employment is based on agricultural sectors such as farming cultivation and plantation. Even though it contributes to a huge part of the country’s economy Sri Lanka has not been able to adapt to rapid changes in the modernized field of agriculture. Also, with the Covid-19 pandemic situation, it becomes essential to find sophisticated solutions for agricultural issues found in our country.

The Rotaract Club of the University of Kelaniya with the collaboration of Edscale Up comes up with a technological innovation platform called “AGRI-THON”. AGRI-THON is a hackathon for agriculture and technology. Both the young enthusiasts and professionals were given the opportunity to participate and present their practical & innovative solutions for the timely issues in AgriTech.

“AGRI-THON” was held under two categories. Namely, The School category for young enthusiasts and an open category for undergraduates and professionals. Both leading to resolve practical issues of AgriTech through innovative solutions. Several phases of the competition were held until the finals, where participants got hands-on experience and resources to accelerate their prospects.

Phase 1-Registrations-This period consists of opening registrations to closing the registrations. Contestants were given about a month time from 11 January 2021 to  7 February 2021 to Register for the first-ever AgriTech hackathon in Sri Lanka.

For the first time ever in a Sri Lankan hackathon, individuals were registered and then were teamed up by matching their needs and resource abilities. 36 University teams, 50 university individuals registered to finally make 42 university teams. 15 school teams and 12 school individuals were also registered.

Phase 2- Initial Pitch- Competitors were given 7 days between 7 February to 12 February to submit their project proposal. After the initial screening, 25 Teams from the University category and 9 Teams from the school category were chosen to compete in the initial pitch.

Phase 3- Semi-Final 10 Teams from the university category and 7 teams from the school category were selected to compete in the semi-final.

Phase 4- Final- 5 Teams from each University and School category were selected to compete in the final round. Final contestants were given a month to develop their prototype.

After 6 months of preparation, registration, pitching sessions and prototype developments, AGRI-THON managed to find prestigious winners of this innovative and novel competition.

University Category- Winners

  • Champions – Agro_Init- University of Moratuwa

1. B.H.M. Imdaad

2. J.M.S.R. Chandrasiri

3. Ajeeth Chandrasekaran

  • 1st Runner Up – Flash- IIT
  1. Brian Fernando
  2. Mineth Jeewandara
  3. Santhusha Mallawatantri
  • 2nd Runner Up – Pure Tech Group’s- University of Jaffna

1. A.J.M.Rikas

2. Parathan Krishika

3. M.M.Munawwar

4. Saththivel Prabagani

School Category- Winners

  • Champion – Zahira Tech-Zahira College Mawanella
  1. Mohamed Alavi Abdullah
  2. Mohamed Nisthar Raaidh
  3. Mohamed Ramsan Mohamed Faheem
  • 1st Runner Up – Agronomics
  1. Nishini Minethka-Holy Family Convent
  2. Imma Jayasundera-Devi Balika Vidyalaya
  3. Pasindu Rathnasinghe-Ananda College
  • 2nd Runner Up – Mathura Arunathavam

1.Mathura Arunthavam-J/ Vembadi Girls High School, Jaffna.

2.Rubiga Arunthavam-J/ Vembadi Girls High School, Jaffna.

3.Jilani Vaithilingam-Victoria College, Jaffna

The Awarding Ceremony for the above-mentioned winners was held virtually via Zoom on the 30th May 2021, 4.30 pm onwards. The ceremony was attended by Mr Sachindra Samararathne-Director – Startup Ecosystem Development at Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka as the Chief Guest, District Rotaract Representative – Rtn. Rtr. PP Kasun Sigera, Mr M Rizvi Zaheed-Director, Vidullanka PLC, Chairman, Oceanpick Pvt Ltd , Former Director of Hayleys PLC and Managing, Director Hayleys Agriculture Holdings Ltd, Chairman, Sri Lanka Agripreneurs’ Forum as the Guests of Honour.

AGRI-THON also initiated webinars and workshops alongwith the competition to create awareness. It included webinars based on Entrepreneurship, Business models, Design thinking, How to pitch, Digital marketing etc. to ensure participants get the maximum value for their effort. Additionally, it created a network of a wider range of school students, undergraduates, youth technologists, and industry professionals.

The following webinars were conducted under Agri-thon.

  1. Emergence ofAgriTech in Sri Lanka-16 January 2021 by CEO of SenzAgro Mr Miller Rajendran
  1. Online Agri Businesses in Sri Lanka-17 January 2021 by CEO of Vibhava Solutions Pvt Ltd, Co-founder of Thuru and Zerotrash, Social Entrepreneur Mr Hasanka Padukka,
  1. Aligning entrepreneurship to solve large Agro-23 January 2021  problems by Program Manager of StartupX Foundry, Mr Aloka Gunasekara
  1. Pitch Perfect-13 February by General Manager of Customer Experience Management and People Development, Dialog Axiata PLC Ms Rekha Weerasooriya,
  1. Empower The Skill of Design Thinking-19th of February 2021 by the Data Platform Solution Architect of Microsoft, Mr. Indika Dalugama, Senior Technical Solution Lead -IoT & MR of Microsoft India, Mr Kishore Kumar Shetty_ VP Business Development of Altria Consulting (Pvt) Ltd, Mr.Chamikara Perera_
  1.  Ready – Set – Pitch- 02nd of March 2021 by Co-founder at Show & Tell (Pvt) Ltd, Mr Mafaz Ifharm
  1. Enlighten the Youth on Agritech Global Startup Platforms- 04th of March 202 by Mr Achala Weerasooriya, Chief Operations Officer,  LiveRoom(Pvt) Ltd.
  1. Start-up Ecosystem in Sri Lanka-14th of March 2021 by Head of ICTA Sri Lanka, Mr Sachindra Samararatne.
  1. Right Approach to Developing a Disruptive and Sustainable Business-27th of March 2021by Head of Strategy: Sri Lanka and Indian Sub Continent, Fonterra Brands Lanka, Mr. Shafraz Saleem

The Rotaract Club of the University of Kelaniya believes that this platform empowers the younger generation to explore AgriTech to create an effective transformation in the future of Sri Lankan agriculture sector and eventually to build a sustainable Agritech industry.

More details about the project can be found on our official facebook page and blog:

~ Rtr. Manula Pethiyagoda

Professional Development Avenue

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