RO AgriFood Hacking – HAR 2020, the hackathon dedicated to the agri-food sector is an initiative of the Pro Romanian Food Association – APAR, meant to bring together talented people to fight against the biggest challenge in the world, the COVID-19 pandemic, using digitalization of the sector food.
From 2020 November 13-15, enthusiasts from various fields, from students, freelancers, engineers, software designers, programmers, to specialists in agriculture, marketing and sales responded to APAR’s challenge to participate in this event. The actual conduct of the hackathon was exclusively online, with 14 teams gathering 44 people. And because it is not easy to withstand a marathon competition held continuously for 25 hours, the finish line was crossed by 10 teams that presented to the jury 12 complete solutions, based on the 5 themes proposed by APAR.
The process of elaborating the solutions was supported with a lot of enthusiasm and professionalism by 8 mentors, with vast experience in the specific fields of the proposed topics. The mentors were with the teams, living with the participants the emotions from the stage of presenting the projects, as well as in the one of choosing the winners by the jury. The structure of the 9-members jury was based on the criteria of diversity of fields of activity: academic, public authorities and civil society.
The first 3 winning teams were: AngusTerra (eg AgriTerra) formed by Olimpia Copăcenaru, Adrian Stoica, Dan Birtaș and Ioan-Teodor Gociman; Transilvania 2020 – Claudiu Frânc, Ioan Radu Moldovan, Daniel Ifrim, Chirilă Ioan and the Agro Control team formed by Cezar Dragos Geambașu and Ciprian Abramov.
The big winner, AngusTerra proposed an intelligent solution for managing pastures and cattle raised in an extensive system, based on IoT technologies and the use of satellite images. The smart pasture management platform helps farmers who need feasible solutions for business efficiency and soundness, given their difficulty in efficiently managing large areas of pasture, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The second winning solution was proposed by the Transilvania 2020 team and refers to the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to reduce the amount of substances to combat diseases and pests, the consumption of fossil fuels and the transparency of the use of treatments and fertilizers used in the farm. The proposed solution contributes to reducing pollution, water consumption and increasing the quality of agri-food products.
On the 3rd place in the ranking was the Agro Control team that presented 2 solutions: an intelligent agriculture module that will allow the farmer to automate with the help of sensors the flow of information from agriculture (temperature, humidity, electrical conductivity, water content, water level). oxygen, the volume of water in the soil). The second proposal presented by the team is an automatic pest detection system that provides real-time information on the occurrence of pests on various crops.
All the proposed solutions will have a positive impact on the environment and sustainability in the context proposed by the EU Green Deal and the European Farm to Fork strategy. The solutions are also a response to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, by limiting human interaction in agri-food production processes. At the same time, the proposals introduce digitization elements in order to make the economy more efficient in agriculture, by optimizing production costs, reducing costs and monitoring procedures.
The first 3 teams will be rewarded with product prizes worth € 1,000 each, intended for the implementation of the winning solutions, as well as mentoring over the next 6 months for the development and implementation of the 3 winning projects.
Although not present on the podium, the Click Click Hack team received a special award from the mentors – Mentors ’Award HAR2020. Maricica Stoica, Liliana Mihalcea, Dimitrie Stoica and Olga Grecu proposed a solution (HARWa) for the intelligent recovery of fish by-products and waste resulting from the industrialization of fish, which reduces the environmental footprint by eliminating pollutants formed by the classic burning of waste. Given that this team was honorarily awarded by mentors, APAR decided to offer 5 tablets, which through the generosity of the Click Click Hack team will reach students in Cahul (Republic of Moldova) studying at the Cross-Border Faculty of the Danube University de Jos Galați, in order to support the learning process.
Beyond the solutions created, the hackathon provided a positive work environment for participants, being a huge source of inspiration for stakeholders in agriculture, hope and optimism in this difficult period.
APAR aims, after the restrictions imposed by the pandemic will end, to organize similar events that will bring together this time specialists, people dedicated to collaborate and generate innovative solutions for the agri-food sector.