Thought for Food 2020

Announcing the Winners of the TFF x reNature Regenerative Agroforestry Challenge

Originally published at: Thought for Food.

Meli Amazonian Bees Network (Brazil) selected as the winning team; FarmAgg (Sri Lanka) earns a special mention

Basel, Switzerland, 20 March 2020 – Thought For Food (TFF) and reNature Foundation announce that the Brazilan startup Meli Amazonian Bees Network has been selected as the winning team in the TFF x reNature Regenerative Agroforestry Challenge. In addition, the Sri Lankan startup FarmAgg has been selected as a Special Mention.

The TFF x reNature Agroforestry Prize was launched as a topical challenge in the 2019/2020 global TFF Challenge. Teams from around the world were called upon to create solutions that support farmers and cooperatives to transition to sustainable agroforestry systems, and to develop innovative and useful products that regenerate soil, increase biodiversity, improve the water cycle, enhance ecosystem services, sequester carbon and improve climate resilience.

Winner: Meli Amazonian Bees Network (Brazil)

Meli is an innovative model that delivers agroforestry-based bee-keeping training and products such as raw honey, propolis and wax made by Amazonian bees. Witnessing the deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon first-hand as kids and young adults, the Founders of the Brazilian startup made it their mission to support traditional small-scale farmers and indigenous communities. They provide these groups with improved access to scientific knowledge about Amazonian native bee species, as well as cutting-edge beekeeping practices based on agroforestry practices.

To date, Meli has worked with over a dozen families that hold more than 100 hives, and they are now focused on scaling up their services to impact the lives of hundreds of local growers over the next year.

The conservation of the rainforest and respect for local cultures are the socio-environmental drivers that keep the startup founders’ passion alive. “Meli provides an ecological and economically-viable alternative to destructive monoculture farming operations,” states CEO Ana Rosa de Lima, who was raised in the Brazilian state of Pará, a region in the Amazon witnessing especially heavy deforestation.

As their prize, Meli Amazonian Bees Network will receive fully-funded participation in the 2020 TFF Academy and TFF Summit events, which are currently planned to take place in Kuala Lumpur in October. They will also have the chance to take part in one of reNature’s future Agroforestry Change Makers programs.

Special Mention: FarmAgg (Sri Lanka)

Around 35% of Sri Lanka’s population is dependent on agriculture, and the country is one of the most vulnerable to the negative effects of climate change. The Founders of FarmAgg have developed an application that helps smallholder farmers adopt climate-smart agricultural techniques and improve their livelihoods by connecting them to the digital value chain.

FarmAgg aggregates GIS, IoT sensors and remote sensing technologies to deliver real-time decision-making tools and online training on climate-smart agricultural practices to smallholders. To combat the issue of uncertainties related to adverse climate conditions, FarmAgg establishes automated weather stations, which provides accurate data to 2,200 farmers. They also incorporate an insurance policy system, with predetermined payoff structures to cover against rainfall risks. Their aim is to bring consistency and sustainability to crops such as tea, coconut, ginger, sesame, tomato, chillies and legumes.

As their prize, FarmAgg will receive 2 hours of virtual mentorship from Thought For Food and reNature, as well as a free ticket to the TFF Summit in Malaysia.

Felipe Villela, Co-Founder of reNature Foundation states: “Global food production needs to change drastically. By 2050 our world population is expected to reach 10 billion people. For the same year, we have set a global goal to reach zero greenhouse gas emissions. In order to change current food production and land use, we need to shift to more efficient systems that can ensure food and nutrition security, protect biodiversity and become a lever to help solve climate change. Agroforestry puts agriculture back into the landscape—regenerating nature instead of exploiting it. We are thrilled to see the next generation of entrepreneurs building solutions that take these regenerative agroforestry practices forward—showing that they can withstand droughts, pests and floods much better than conventional systems whilst making a real business impact too.”

Christine Gould, Founder and CEO of Thought For Food states, “We are thrilled to have had the chance to partner with reNature for this important topical challenge, which incentivizes next-gen entrepreneurs to build solutions around the world that incorporate agroforestry practices and address local needs. Meli Amazonian Bees Network and FarmAgg model what we want other innovators from around the world to do, too. They have identified a pressing challenge in their home countries and are now applying their skills in technology and business to improve the local agricultural sector. And by doing that, they are also putting global awareness on their countries’ food systems and the positive impact that agroforestry approaches can have on smallholders’ lives there.”

About reNature:
reNature is a leading organisation dedicated to implementing regenerative agroforestry models around the world. They aim to show that it is possible to put global agriculture into a climate-smart future through agroforestry. Regenerative agroforestry is an agricultural method that mimics natural ecosystems. Through holistic management and smart design, various components like crops, trees, plants and livestock combine to form a diverse, self-sustaining production system. Find out more about reNature at https://www.renature.co/

About Thought For Food:
Thought For Food is the world’s entrepreneurial innovation engine for food and agriculture. We work with more than 25,000 next-generation leaders from over 175 countries, empowering them to generate and scale breakthrough business ventures that build sustainable, inclusive, and resilient food systems. Our comprehensive suite of next-gen innovation programs include the TFF Challenge, an annual collaborative innovation prize competition: the TFF Digital Labs, a digital startup accelerator and collaboration platform; the TFF Academy, an in-person incubation program for world-class startups; and the TFF Summit, a flagship global event focused on bringing the voices of the next generation together with policy and business leaders to co-create solutions. TFF’s work is powered by a global operating structure that includes the TFF Core Team, 14 Regional Coordinators and 400 Ambassadors in more than 200 cities, as well as diverse partners such as Syngenta, KWS, Google and Rockefeller Foundation. Thought For Food is a 501c3 non-profit entity. Find out more about Thought For Food at https://thoughtforfood.org/.

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