PANAJI: A year after the state reported nearly a 50 per cent drop in the annual cashew yield, a unique hackathon, Hack-A-Cashew, is underway in order to put the spotlight on one of Goa’s most popular cash crops and examine novel ways and means to boost the cashew output in Goa.
The one-of-a-kind hackathon is being conducted by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Goa, with the Atal Incubation Centre at Goa Institute of Management (AIC-GIM) as a knowledge partner on the occasion of National Startup Day. ‘Hack-A-Cashew’ is currently inviting applications with innovative ideas and solutions to increase the state’s cashew yield.
The hackathon was announced by the Information Technology and Tourism Minister of Goa, Rohan Khaunte, at the ‘Startup Investor Day’ event at the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, campus in South Goa.
‘Hack-A-Cashew’ is currently inviting applications for innovative ideas and solutions to increase cashew yield in Goa.
In order to prepare for the unique hackathon, CII and AIC-GIM teams visited various cashew growers and industry experts in the state to understand the issues faced by them from a production perspective. According to them, Goa doesn’t export enough cashew nuts despite large tracts of uncultivated land in the state which are available for farming. Lack of geographical indication (GI) labelling on Goan cashew products has also resulted in farmers earning low rates for their cashew crop.
In an attempt to aid the cashew industry in Goa and boost the entrepreneurial potential of the local youth, CII and AIC-GIM are encouraging startup ideas related to mechanical, digital, agritech, value-addition and sustainability solutions in the area of cashew production.
The cashew farmers also expressed concerns related to identifying, preventing, and eliminating a specific pest afflicting cashew plantations and developing a commercial graft or variety that is appropriate for the soil and temperature. They also said that mechanized solutions to dry cashew nuts would also quicken the process. Digitization can also aid cashew farmers by equipping them with the latest weather updates, which can prepare them beforehand. The cashew growers also highlighted the need for innovation in food processing and adding value to cashew apple and cashew nut products.
“Cashew is an important cash crop in Goa. This one-of-a-kind hackathon on the occasion of National Startup Day is aimed at revitalizing the cashew ecosystem in Goa through innovative ideas and solutions to increase cashew yield in the state. We expect the hackathon to serve as a platform for ideas which will revive and rejuvenate interest as well as add an efficient edge to various processes involved in cashew nut farming, production and processing,” says Rajesh Joshi, CEO of AIC-GIM.
Participants shortlisted for the hackathon will be provided with mentorship, pilot opportunity, access to finance, and related incubation services from AIC-GIM Foundation.