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Hackathon winners can help Botswana’s agriculture sector bloom says Absa

The winners of Absa Bank Botswana’s recent agriculture-themed hackathon have not only gained recognition, but their talents could soon be put to use to help what is widely acknowledged as a critical sector.

Nine teams competed in the challenge, with the top three being EO Analytics, Digital Lead and Binary Thoughts.

The first, second and third placed teams won P60, 000, P40, 000 and P20, 000 respectively, and have been selected to participate in an incubation programme with entrepreneurial skills development training.

“… the programme entails learning sessions with industry experts on various aspects of entrepreneurship aimed at guiding the young innovators on their entrepreneurial journey,” said Keabetswe Pheko-Moshagane, Managing Director, Absa Bank Botswana.

Pheko-Moshagane added that Botswana’s agriculture sector is key to sustainable economic development and digitisation pivotal to sustainability. “Digitisation is the cornerstone of our operations hence we constantly look for digital solutions or ideas to transform and revolutionise our industries, as well as support young talent to pursue their ideas.”

“We remain committed to implementing innovative projects that bring positive impact to our communities as well as deliver shareholder value.”

Increasing digital transformation

According to the Botswana Animal Information and Traceability System (BAITS) farmers with cattle and small stock are required to have electronic identification ear-tags for their animals, one of the developments being rolled out in the sector, as part of digitisation efforts.

In addition, the government is working on establishing agriculture Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in Lobatse, Tuli Block, and Pandamatenga to promote mechanised farming and anchor the creation of major export-oriented agro-industrial products through backward and forward linkages.

The linkages of these food production zones are envisioned to create a multi-modal logistics platform that will help to promote opportunities for investment in the various SEZs and access to export markets.

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