The first BayWa Smart Farming Challenge enters the crucial stage: In the past few weeks, the participants – start-ups, companies, university research groups and individuals – have submitted their satellite-based innovations for the agricultural sector and are now competing to enter the final round. In addition to the prize money of €5,000, the winner can also look forward to a comprehensive mentoring programme by BayWa and its holding companies to bring the innovation onto the market. The BayWa Smart Farming Challenge is one of sixteen categories of the international Copernicus Masters competition initiated by the European Space Agency (ESA) and Anwendungszentrum Oberpfaffenhofen (AZO). Since 2011, ESA, AZO and their partners have awarded this prize to satellite-based innovations that help overcome global challenges. This year, 188 start-ups have participated in the competition across all categories.
“We are proud of the high level of attention that the Smart Farming Challenge has generated even in its first year,” says Jörg Migende, responsible for the strategic business development in the Agriculture division and the Digital Farming sector at BayWa AG. “The response confirms the potential we see in this area. We assume that satellite remote sensing will play a crucial role in agricultural digitalisation.”
Most applications came from Europe, headed by Italy and Germany with seven and six submitted innovations. But Asia and South America are also represented in the Smart Farming Challenge. Most of the innovations are concerned with the use of satellite data in plant cultivation or farm management in general. This includes, for example, irrigation, fertilisation or plant protection.
A jury of responsible persons from BayWa and its holding companies FarmFacts and Vista will now select the best five from the 29 applications. In mid-August, the finalists will have the chance to convince the jury members of their innovations during a virtual pitch. Finally, the winner of the BayWa Smart Farming Challenge and the winners of the other categories will be awarded at the “Oscars of Space” held during the European Space Week in Marseille, France.
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