Innovation Challenge - Finale

15 candidates from over 1,000 applicants presented their ideas to world-class international jury at this year's Innovation Challenge. The three winners in the categories of renewable energies, mechanization and digitalization were awarded support packages with a total value of 240,000 EUR.

The Idea behind the Challenge

In March and April 2020, the GIZ Agricultural Innovation Fund (AIF) published the call for its "Innovation Challenge 2020" on behalf of the BMZ. The aim of this competition was to find and promote innovative local ideas in GIZ partner countries that contribute to a more efficient and sustainable agricultural sector along the entire value chain. In the end, more than 1,000 people from Africa and Southeast Asia submitted their ideas and participated in the Innovation Challenge.


’With the Innovation Challenge, we want to take a different approach to actively integrate people with innovative ideas from our partner countries in our developmental collaboration efforts.’

Sebastian Lesch, BMZ

The finale

The online finale on October 27 was opened by Dirk Schattschneider, Assistant Director General and Commissioner for the special initiative “ONE WORLD – No Hunger” at BMZ.  The 15 finalists each presented their innovations in short pitch videos. With their professional backgrounds and expertise from the agricultural sector and international cooperation, the five jury members commented on all the entries, thus providing viewers from across the world with unique perspectives on innovations in the food and agriculture sector.



Michael Hailu

Former Director of CTA

Elizabeth Nsimadala

President of the Pan African Farmers Organization

Rabe Yahaya

Agricultural Mechanization Expert at CIMMYT Ethiopia

Charulata Singal

Investment Specialist at the United Nations Capital Development Fund

Jennifer Bash

CEO Alaska Tanzania (AKTZ) Industries Ltd.


In their assessment of the presented innovations, the jury members took various criteria into consideration including, degree of innovation, potential for implementation, potential gender impact and the relevance to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), especially SDG 2 (No Hunger). After long deliberation, the jury members came to their decision, which was certainly no easy task given the exceptional nature of each of the top 15 innovations. In each category three winners were selected who will receive support packages (worth a total value of up to EUR 50,000 for the 1st place winner) tailored to their individual innovations; for example, winners may receive coaching and training, mentoring and will have access to the GIZ’s extensive global network. During the award ceremony at the end of the online Finale Sebastian Lesch, Head of Division International Agricultural Policy, Agriculture and Innovation at BMZ announced the winners of this year’s Challenge:


Renewable Energies

1st Place: Akash Agarwal

New Leaf Dynamic Technologies

Agarwal and his father developed in India a network-independent cold storage system operated with agricultural waste.

2nd Place: Mohammed Kamara

Light Salone Innovation

Mohammed Kamara from Sierra Leone has developed irrigation systems powered by solar and windmill systems.

3rd Place: Gladys Kimondo

Diacatek Enterprise

Gladys Kimondo from Kenya builds solar-powered hybrid dryers to reduce post-harvest losses and waste.

Finalist: Mahbubul Islam

Bangladesh Biochar Initiative

Mahbubul Islam's innovation is a fuel-efficient cooking stove that uses biomass to produce biochar.

Finalist: Moulay Youssef El Hafidi


Moulay Youssef El Hafidi developed a magnetic power generator for farmers and nomads.


1st Place: Piwai Chikasha

Alley Capital Group

Piwai Chikasha from Zimbabwe uses robot-assisted precision drones for pest control, which are more fuel-efficient and better for the environment than traditional methods.

2nd Place: Devi Murthy

Kamal Kisan

Devi Murthy from India and her team developed a platform approach to mechanize rice cultivation.

3rd Place: Isaac Osei


Isaac Osei from Ghana offers a sustainable innovation for processing agricultural residues into paper products.

Finalist: Gbogboade Seun

JustGreen Agri-power Services

The innovation of Gbogboade Seun from Nigeria is an ox-drawn agricultural machine for conservation agriculture.


Finalist: Alfred Chengula

Imara Tech

Alfred Chengula's innovation is a portable multi-fruit threshing machine.


1st Place: Tiffany Tong und Sonika Manandhar

Aeloi Technologies

The team from Canada and Nepal provides financing solutions for micro-enterprises by connecting financial institutions, donors, micro-entrepreneurs and vendors via digital token.

2nd Place: Chukwuemeka Oyiana

Upshore Robotics

Chukwuemeka Oyiana from Nigeria offers a drone service for seed sowing and the integration of instant messaging apps to address a broad customer base.

3rd Place: Hayfa Khalfaoui

Lait Espoir

Hayfa Khalfaoui from Tunisia offers a mobile app that enables dairy farmers to quickly diagnose animal health.

Finalist: Naufal Achmad

Digital Engineering Indonesia

Naufal Achmad from Indonesia developed a land use system for villages for sustainable management of natural resources.

Finalist: Ubio Obu

Virtual Farm

Ubio Obu from India/Nigeria offers a virtual farm that enables urban communities to manage vertical farms online.


Congratulations are in order for all of the winners in all three categories – each of their innovations represents a tool with great potential to contribute to combating hunger and poverty as well as enriching rural areas with opportunities for growth. Moreover, this is just the beginning of our support for innovations which will contribute to the future of the food and agriculture sector. Further Innovation Challenges will once again bring together clever minds from across the world to find solutions to tackle some of the most pressing issues on the global agenda. For more information on the Innovation Challenge, feel free to contact us:



A short video with the highlights of the finale can be found here.

And, in case you missed this year’s event in live-stream, don’t worry, the event has been recorded and can be viewed below/on Youtube by following the link or clicking on the individual finalists in our YouTube Playlist to watch their pitches.


Further Publication on the Innovation Challenge

Promoting agricultural innovations: 1,000 ideas for a world without hunger

Article on the course of the Innovation Challenge, published in June 2020.

Find out more

Ideas on the ground: Local solutions for global challenges

A conversation with BMZ Head of Division Sebastian Lesch on the Innovation Challenge programme of the new Agricultural Innovation Fund.

Find out more