Four teams with cross-disciplinary expertise in agronomy and computer algorithms were selected for the final round of Pinduoduo’s Smart Agriculture Competition after two days of judging by an international panel of experts.
Hamato, TomaGrow, HortiAI and CyberTomato were chosen out of the 15 teams shortlisted for the initial round of presentations last week, the organizers said in a release. The four teams, with 80% of members in their 20s, will now proceed to Pinduoduo’s tomato-growing greenhouse base in Yunnan to implement their respective horticultural proposals over the next six months.
Contestants will take a multidisciplinary approach, applying nutrition science, precision farming and other relevant technology to cultivate tomatoes. The winners will be judged on yield, nutritional value, environmental sustainability and commercial viability.
Over 120 researchers were shortlisted for the preliminary round. They come from top universities including China Agricultural University, Zhejiang University, Northwest A & F University, National Engineering Research Center for Information Technology in Agriculture, Wageningen University & Research, as well as smart agriculture enterprises.
“We want to encourage more young people to take part in agriculture and bring their talents and energy to make a meaningful impact on this traditional industry,” said Andre Zhu, Senior Vice President at Pinduoduo. “Pinduoduo will use its resources to groom the younger generation to support agricultural modernization. This will help farmers to sell better and benefit our users at the same time.”
Now in its second year, the Smart Agriculture Competition is led by Pinduoduo, China Agricultural University and Zhejiang University, with technical guidance from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and Wageningen University & Research.
The Yunnan Academy of Agricultural Sciences and representative agencies from the Netherlands, Switzerland and Denmark have also provided strong support. Leading agritech companies including Bayer Crop Science, Ridder Group and Omron have lent their industry expertise and advanced solutions to the competition.
As China’s largest agriculture platform serving more than 800 million consumers, Pinduoduo has made agriculture a central part of its mission to improve the way food is grown, transported and sold.
Last month, Pinduoduo announced it would launch a dedicated “10 Billion Agriculture Initiative” to face and address critical needs in the agricultural sector and rural areas. The initiative will be overseen by Chairman and CEO Chen Lei and strive to facilitate the advancement of agritech, promote digital inclusion, and provide agritech talents and workers with greater motivation and a sense of achievement.