Impact Hackathon Grand Winner TransFarm on Using Tech for Food Security
Social entrepreneur Elvin Laceda has always believed that technology “can be used for the good and for the betterment of society,” so when the country’s largest hackathon called for innovators to hack some of the pressing challenges in the Philippines today, Laceda took his chance to make a greater impact in agriculture.
Laceda formed a team to join Impact Hackathon, a 24-hour programming marathon to solve problems in health, agriculture, education, smart cities, and climate change, in reference to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
They developed a mobile application that aims to make faster and more transparent transactions between farmers and consumers. After several rounds of pitching, TransFarm was declared national grand winner of Impact Hackathon.
“For me, this is the first hackathon that I participated in, and I never expected that my team will win but I have within me a feeling of sincere desire to create something that is beneficial to the Philippines,” said Laceda.
TransFarm is designed to be a platform to create an inclusive food supply chain in the Philippines by enabling farmers and food producers directly access their markets. Customers can simply place orders for fresh harvest through the app, then wait for the door-to-door delivery of natural-grown produce straight from TransFarm’s partner farmers.
“When food manufacturers have access to food producers, it will become much easier for them, and at the same time, they will be able to save some costs for their production and [better] serve their clients. In this way, TransFarm is literally transforming the food supply chain of the Philippines that touches the lives of every Filipino,” Laceda added.
TransFarm also helps farmers take inventory of their produce, and also gives back to farmers by lessening the cost of production and offering benefit packages.
Existing customers of TransFarm’s partner farms have recently begun testing the mobile app which is expected to be rolled out to a wider market by mid-2020. The team is currently under a year-long incubation period with Impact Hub Manila, an impact incubator and global network of purpose-driven entrepreneurs and innovators. The incubation is part of the prize package that TransFarm received for winning the hackathon.
“Winning is just part of the game but in the end the battle should be one on the field… What we really fight for in TransFarm is transparency, social justice and equitable distribution of resources,” Laceda said.
The journey has just started for TransFarm. But with a team that believes impact is not always achieved overnight, one can anticipate greater news for the agriculture sector with innovations today such as TransFarm.
Impact Hackathon is the banner event of Impact 2050, a multi-year program designed to equip, enable, and empower innovative individuals who want to make a positive impact through technology.
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