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Knowledge


 DCM Shriram Foundation, The/Nudge Institute announce INR 2.6 Cr prize challenge to tackle agri-water issues

 DCM Shriram Foundation, The/Nudge Institute announce INR 2.6 Cr prize challenge to tackle agri-water issues

DCM Shriram Foundation and The/Nudge Institute, in collaboration with the Office of the Principal Scientific Advisor (GoI), have launched the DCM Shriram AgWater Challenge.

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MUMBAI, 25 June 2023: DCM Shriram Foundation and The/Nudge Institute, in collaboration with the Office of the Principal Scientific Advisor (GoI), have launched the DCM Shriram AgWater Challenge.

This prize challenge, valued at INR 2.6 crore, aims to foster innovation in the agriculture sector, specifically focusing on the efficient use of water.

The challenge invites AgTech entrepreneurs and social impact innovators to develop scalable solutions that address water security and prosperity for approximately 1 million smallholder farmers in India.

Addressing Water Scarcity and Inefficient Water Utilization

With 80 percent of India's groundwater being used for agriculture, there is a pressing need for more efficient water utilization. Unfortunately, 60 percent of this water is currently wasted due to misaligned practices in nutrient application and fertilization, leading to soil degradation and decreased crop yields.

Factors such as water scarcity, unsustainable agricultural practices, and dependence on erratic rainfall and climate change further exacerbate the challenges faced by the agriculture sector in India, which is home to over 600 million farmers.

Generous Prize Purse and Expert Ecosystem

The DCM Shriram AgWater Challenge offers a substantial prize purse of INR 2.6 Crore, including a grand prize of INR 2 Crore for the winner. Additionally, three other finalists will receive a total of 60 Lakh rupees as they successfully meet specific milestones.

The challenge aims to create a sense of urgency and impact by fostering an AgWater and Smallholder Farmer (SHF) expert ecosystem. This ecosystem includes key stakeholders such as market players, government departments, research institutions, and senior mentors from India and beyond, working together to support and accelerate the adoption of innovative solutions.

Promoting Scalable Solutions for Smallholder Farmers

The challenge seeks to identify and support 15-20 exceptional solutions that focus on improving agricultural water utilization for smallholder farmers, particularly for water-intensive crops like rice, wheat, sugarcane, and cotton.

The selected cohort will receive mentorship, interventions, and pilots facilitated by a distinguished group of advisors comprising prominent agri-investors, policymakers, academia, and thought leaders. The aim is to address the water-related challenges faced by smallholder farmers and drive economic improvement for over 600 million farmers across the country.

Aman Pannu, President of DCM Shriram Foundation, emphasized the complexity of conserving water on a large scale and the need for solutions that consider various factors affecting agriculture. Kanishka Chatterjee, Director of The/Nudge Prize, highlighted the importance of addressing water-related challenges for small and marginal farmers, who heavily rely on groundwater and face increased vulnerability to water stress and climate change.

Conclusion

The DCM Shriram AgWater Challenge represents a significant opportunity to address the pressing issue of water scarcity and inefficient water utilization in Indian agriculture.

By encouraging AgTech entrepreneurs and social impact innovators to develop scalable solutions, the challenge aims to unlock prosperity and water security for 1 million smallholder farmers. Through a generous prize purse, an expert ecosystem, and mentorship support, the challenge seeks to drive innovation and create a positive impact on the livelihoods of farmers while ensuring the sustainable use of water resources.


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