ISLAMABAD         -        Consequent to the framework collaboration agreement signed between Ministry of IT and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of UN on 25 March 2020, to jointly work for the development of agriculture sector of Pakistan, using technology, ‘AgriSurge 2020 Innovation Challenge’ was virtually launched by Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui, Federal Secretary Ministry of IT and Telecommunication and Ms. Minà Dowlatchahi, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Representative in Pakistan, while sitting in the respective capitals of Pakistan and Italy.

The ceremony in this regard was held at Ministry of IT & Telecom on Thursday. Senior officers of the Ministry of IT and Ignite were also present on the occasion.

The ‘AgriSurge 2020 Innovation Challenge’ called for innovative solutions that can revolutionize agriculture sector in Pakistan through 4th Industrial Wave (4IW) tech. The competition is open for all with no age limit. The winning team will clinch a cash prize of Rs. 500,000/- while first and second runner-up teams will receive Rs. 300,000/- and Rs. 200,000/- respectively. The proposal submission deadline is set for July 14, 2020. The proposals can be submitted at www.ignite.org.pk/agrisurge.

Speaking on the occasion, Secretary IT Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui said that ever since the outbreak of COVID-19, Ministry of IT is consistently launching ICT centric initiatives in sectors that are critically devastated by the pandemic, may it be health, education or agriculture.

He said the agriculture sector has great importance in the economic development of Pakistan and the Ministry of IT will take every possible step for addressing the challenges and problems faced by agriculture sector.

Ms. Minà Dowlatchahi, FAO Representative in Pakistan, through video link said that this is a great initiative and leveraging 4IW Tech through youth and women engagement is a matter of urgency to unlock Agriculture and water management transformation in Pakistan. CEO Ignite, Syed Junaid Imam said “Through the challenge we seek teams of talents to develop practical ICT-based solutions to tackle key problems in Pakistan’s agriculture sector.