The TFF Challenge is the world’s leading incentive prize competition in food and agriculture. Our annual competition serves as a “call to action,” galvanizing the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs to create and accelerate breakthrough solutions to one of the biggest questions of our time: How to sustainably feed 10 billion people by 2050?

Since 2014, we have helped young innovators around the world to develop locally-relevant solutions that address a wide-range of pressing food and agriculture challenges across all parts of the food chain—from production to distribution through to consumption and waste. Up until today, our call has supported the creation and acceleration of over 50 impact-oriented food and ag startups. Find an overview of the startups who made it to the TFF Challenge Finals below.

2020

Aglonera (Indonesia)

An online marketplace connecting end-consumers with farmers and breeders in order to save time and costs, while improving the quality, nutrition and sustainability of food provisions.

AIT Group Poultry Farmers Management Systems/ PFMS (Cameroon)

AI-powered mobile application to connect poultry farmers with veterinarians in order to diagnose and treat animal illness and help predict disease outbreaks.

Banoo (Indonesia)

An aquaculture solution that integrates a microbubble generator, IoT sensor, solar panel, and mobile application to increase productivity, while reducing environmentally-damaging water waste.

BumbleChain (New Zealand/ Canada)

A blockchain-based, plug-and-play supply-chain verification system to help prevent fraud, increase transparency, and improve economic opportunities for sustainable honey producers.

CBA Sementes (Brazil)

An automated aeroponic system to produce high-quality, disease-free potato seeds, while also reducing overall production time and costs.

microTerra (Mexico)

A low-cost, modular water treatment system that uses microalgae to convert agricultural wastewater into nutritious animal feed in an environmentally- sustainable manner.

Neurafarm (Indonesia)

An AI-powered crop diagnostic tool to provide early detection and treatment recommendations for diseases and pests, targeting smallholder farmers.

SyntheSea (Malaysia/ Global)

Sustainable, cost-effective solution for producing omega-3 nutrients from plant oil precursors for use in fish feed.

WTH Foods (Philippines)

Plant-based, nutritious and delicious food products made from valorized bumper crops that are sourced directly from local growers, processed to minimize waste streams, and delivered to customers in sustainable packaging.

Xilinat (Mexico)

Biotechnology-based process to create xylitol, a natural sugar substitute that can be used to combat diabetes and obesity, by using agricultural waste sourced from poor farmers.

🌀 Feitosa Foodtech (Brazil)

CIRCULAR ECONOMY OF FOOD PRIZE
Feitosa Foodtech develops and produces nutritious and delicious banana-based consumer products such as ketchup, barbeque sauce, jam, and other condiments made from organic banana waste, including over-ripe fruits and peels, meaning these by-products are given value and remain in use, rather than becoming waste. The banana by-products are sourced from local producers in Southern Brazil, who they have also trained to incorporate agroforestry-based growing practices that help regenerate farmland.

🌱 Meli Amazonian Bees Network

Meli is an innovative model that delivers agroforestry-based bee-keeping training and products such as raw honey, propolis and wax made by Amazonian bees. Witnessing the deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon first-hand as kids and young adults, the Founders of the Brazilian startup made it their mission to support traditional small-scale farmers and indigenous communities. They provide these groups with improved access to scientific knowledge about Amazonian native bee species, as well as cutting-edge beekeeping practices based on agroforestry practices.

🌕 GrowCab

GrowCab, based in the UK and with team members hailing from India, Mexico and Venezuela, has built an open-source, low-cost benchtop growth cabinet that facilitates “speed breeding” of crop varieties. Speed breeding, a technique developed by one of the team members which was published in the journal Nature Plants, accelerates plant growth in order to improve testing and production of many pivotal research outcomes in a number of plant species. Plant generation time is one of the biggest barriers to advances in crop and plant science, and GrowCab solves this by equipping plant breeders with the technical knowledge as well as required equipment to improve the efficiency and impact of their breeding efforts. The GrowCab chamber, which includes lighting, temperature and humidity controls, can be flat-packed and built on-spot (prototype for GrowCab was first published here). This is optimal for interplanetary breeding projects where the lack of physical space is one of the key challenges.

2018

🌟 Coating+ (Nigeria)

TFF GRAND PRIZE
Coating+ has developed an affordable and effective way to combat post-harvest food loss. When food is coated with their chitosan/soy based product, fresh produce has been shown to retain its quality for up to 9 days in laboratory trials. Additionally, the coating contains hard-to-access micronutrients. The team is currently in the regulatory approval process in Nigeria and working with a lawyer to file their intellectual property. Coating+ is researching a future product that can be applied to meat and fish, and they are actively forming partnerships with agriculture supply distribution centers throughout Nigeria.

🌟 Safi Organics (Kenya)
TFF RUNNER UP

Safi Organics has developed a decentralized organic fertilizer production system (MIT owns patent) and proprietary biochar formula that increases yields by up to 30% while decreasing the soil acidity. Their decentralized model allows for small batch production runs, perfect for a franchise-based business model. The fertilizer inputs are agricultural waste products such as corn husks, keeping the cost of fertilizer price competitive. They have conducted over 20 field tests and have made $15,000 in sales to date. The team is beginning to scale up sales and production capabilities, securing key distribution and training partners.

🌟 AEROPOWDER (UK)
KIRCHNER FOOD FELLOW PRIZE

AEROPOWDER has developed a proprietary manufacturing process in which they turn surplus “waste” feathers into insulation materials. By collecting unutilized feathers, their price of goods makes their product price competitive with traditional Styrofoam alternatives. They recently launched their sales efforts to reach small to medium-sized butchers and dairies, and they have received interest in using their packaging from major food delivery brands.

🌟 Rice Inc. (Malaysia/ UK)
BORLAUG “TAKE IT TO THE FARMER” PRIZE

Rice Inc. is a unique, community-owned drying service for rural villages that rely on smallholder rice farming. Their drying service allows for farmers to dry more rice, in a more efficient manner, increasing their annual yields and income. By cultivating community ownership of a flat-bed drying system in a lease-to-own model, Rice Inc. ensures the long-term financial sustainability of rural communities. In addition to the drying system, Rice Inc. connects the rural communities directly to the wholesale marketplace, further increasing their income by eliminating the middlemen. The team is currently implementing their first trial in Northern Myanmar.

IoT Water Control Management (Brazil/ Jordan)

IoT WCM is leveraging the untapped potential of refugees to collect data on water usage and quality in refugee camps. The data collection is incentivized through educational apps and kits that are used by youth in the camp to make their communities a better place to live. The collected data informs the team and the camp staff of problem areas which are then solved through technology solutions and/or policy changes. Their first product is a control system to ensure that all families receive the correct amount of allotted water. They are in active communication with leadership in two refugee camps, have their beta educational app available for Android users, and are developing their first physical prototype.

Laticin (Brazil)

Laticin is digitizing the dairy industry, leading to a more productive and safe value chain. They capture data such as production amount, milk temperature, and dairy locations and then utilize AI and machine learning to make recommendations and optimize shipping routes. Laticin is currently beta testing with 1 dairy aggregate in Brazil, and they are preparing to secure financing to grow their developer team so that they can scale up operations.

Likabs Food (Ghana)

In West Africa, African giant snails are popular food item for people throughout the socio-economic spectrum. Snails are considered a high-quality source of protein, however most snails are harvested on large snail farms and then sold in markets at a very high price. Likabs Food is introducing a distributive model in which they provide the inputs and training for smallholder farmers to grow their own snails. They have a guaranteed purchasing clause ensuring farmers more than triple their investment while retaining enough protein to feed their family. Likabs will process the snails grown by the farmers into various products which will be sold throughout West Africa.

Nutricandies (Brazil)

Nutricandies has developed a proprietary technology to turn fruits and vegetables into a chocolate-tasting paste. This vegan, gluten and dairy free food product is highly nutritious, and equally delicious! They source their inputs from smallholder farmers which helps them to diversify their revenue streams. So far in 2018 they have sold about 500 products and are retailing in 5 stores. Several bakeries and larger food companies have expressed interest in using Nutricandies chocolate paste in their food products. Nutricandies is actively developing new products, including solid chocolate bar.

RiseHarvest (Myanmar/ Australia)

RiseHarvest is developing a collection of digital tools to help smallholder farmers manage their fields and learn about fertilizer usage and application times. Farmers are incentivized to input data and use their tools because in exchange farmers will receive benchmarking data, proof of income which can lead to credit access, and information about how to improve their crop yields. This includes spectral imaging to determine fertilizer needs and a fertilizer recommendation algorithm. RiseHarvest is currently running 10 field trails with small rice farmers and developing their beta app. In addition, they have over 100 farmers signed up on their waitlist.

Sweetpot Yoghurt (Ghana)

Sweetpot Yoghurt is bringing to market a healthy yoghurt that is made with orange flesh sweet potatoes. Developed to address vitamin A deficiency, Sweetpot is dedicated to leverage the fast-growing demand for yoghurt snacks in sub-Saharan Africa, along with the beneficial qualities of orange flesh sweet potatoes (which they source from smallholder farmers). In the past year Sweetpot has sold 2,000 units, primarily as a vendor at various events. They are preparing to scale up production and distribution capabilities and are beginning to develop new products including ice cream and sweet potato pulp.

2017

🌟 Cultivando Futuro (Colombia)
TFF GRAND PRIZE

An information and agro-commerce platform that facilitates direct sales between small farmers and consumers, leveraging open data to analyze market trends.

🌟 Agrospheres (USA)
TFF RUNNER UP

A bioparticle that degrades pesticides into safe by-products in a matter of hours, allowing farmers to better control when they harvest crops.

🌟 Wastebusters (Malaysia)
SYNGENTA OPEN BUSINESS MODEL PRIZE

Using discarded fruits and vegetables to create a dried, nutrient-rich food which can be used in disaster relief situations and as a solid fuel source.

🌟 From Challenge to Opportunity (India/ Switzerland)
BORLAUG “TAKE IT TO THE FARMER” PRIZE

Creating an affordable fertilizer from seaweed for farmers, and using the leftover pulp to make nutritious cookies for malnourished children.

Agri-Yolo (France)

An investment platform enabling collaborative projects between Agribusiness (Agri), Young Investors (Yo) and Landowners (Lo).

BlueGreen Nexus (USA)

A floating greenhouse that uses passive solar energy to distil ocean water into freshwater, creating a land, water and energy-neutral form of scaleable urban agriculture.

Climate Edge (UK)

A low-cost weather station and online monitoring system that provides targeted recommendations for smallholder farmers in tropical climates.

Dairy FIT (USA)

Combining the power of machine learning and data analytics technologies to predict cattle behaviour and genomic tendencies, with an aim to improve the health, wellbeing and productivity of intensively-farmed animals.

Ligno Flava (Indonesia)

Sustainable, low-cost, natural vanilla production from food waste that can replace chemical flavourings.

Sparky (Uganda)

A thermo-dehydrator for vegetables and fruits powered by bio-waste to prolong the shelf-life of produce from two days to two years.

2015/16

🌟 Kulisha (USA/ Global)
TFF GRAND PRIZE

Kulisha produces low-cost, high-quality, sustainable fish feed made from insects. With the current rate of aquaculture production expected to increase by 10x in 15 years, a new source of protein will be needed to adequately grow fish. Kulisha will meet this demand by raising black soldier fly larva, and process this nutrient rich insect into the proper fish feed. This global team will launch their aquaculture feed in Mombasa, Kenya.

🌟 Biteback (Indonesia)
TFF RUNNER UP

Biteback Mineral Oil is an alternative, nutrient-dense replacement of traditional cooking oil, made from edible insects. The use of Biteback oil will greatly decrease the production of palm oil, which is responsible for massive deforestation around the world. At the same time, this nutrient-rich oil easily dissolves into food, increasing the nutritional content of any food that is processed with the oil. Biteback’s #Insect Oil is being developed in Malang, Indonesia.

🌟 Peer-to-Peer Probiotics (France)
KIRCHNER FOOD FELLOW PRIZE

In order to fight malnutrition, Peer-to-Peer Probiotics decided to take advantage of the global tradition of fermentation. This team of scientists have created yeast and bacteria cultures that produce Iron, Vitamin A, and Vitamin B in food that goes through the fermentation process. Because of the nature of fermented food, these vitamin rich strains can easily be passed from one household to another. Peer-to-Peer Probiotics developed this #SyntheticBio in Paris, France.

🌟 Fruti-Cycle (Uganda)
BORLAUG “TAKE IT TO THE FARMER” PRIZE

Fruti-Cycle aims to decrease post-harvest loss by building affordable and effective food transportation vehicles. Their biogas tricycle has attachable refrigeration units, allowing for farmers to generate more income from the produce they already grow. With their innovative business plan, farmers can come together in cooperative groups to purchase a Fruti-Cycle together. This #FoodTransport business is located in Kampala, Uganda.

Ag for Hire (USA)

Did you know that labor accounts for up to 40% of a farmer’s annual expenses, and due to difficulties in finding seasonal laborers a large number of crops to go un-harvested every year? Ag For Hire reduces this cost to farmers and ensures a successful harvest by creating a direct link to seasonal farm workers. At the same time, their platform ensures fair payments to seasonal laborers, while providing safety and skills training. Ag For Hire is based out of Davis, California, USA and will be launching their #FairLabor platform in the nearby Central Valley.

Agrosmart (Brazil)

The Agrosmart monitoring systems tracks more than 10 environmental conditions, allowing growers to have relevant data for better decision-making regarding irrigation, crop development, diseases and pests. As a result, Agrosmart can save up to 60% of water in irrigation, energy and increase productivity at the same time, delivering to the plants what they really need. This #PrecisionAg startup is located in Campinas, Brazil where they have already begun trialing their Internet of Things system with local farmers.

EcoNoodle (Indonesia)

Cassava is a one of the world’s staple foods, and due to its drought tolerance and ability to grow in poor soil, a crop that is extensively cultivated in developing countries. Djong Nusantara aims to bring cassava into the mainstream market by creating delicious and nutritious instant noodles made from cassava flour. By sourcing their cassava from smallholder farmers, they will be boosting local economies around the world. Djong Nusantara is launching their #NewFoodProduct in Jakarta, Indonesia, and plan to sell their instant noodles throughout Asia and Africa.

FarmAField (USA)

FarmAField is addressing two agricultural problems: excessive income volatility for small farmers, and obstacles preventing individuals outside agriculture from ownership of crops and livestock. Their online marketplace allows for the transparent exchange of small production contracts between everyday people and farmers, while ensuring that the transactions occur in a safe and efficient manner. FarmAField is located in Lincoln, Nebraska where they are working to launch their #FinancialPlatform in the United States.

Shehed (India)

Shehed is Urdu for honey, which is perfect for a team focused on increasing the number of honeybees around the world. To start, Shehed is in the process of launching advertising campaigns throughout Asia to let farmers know about the benefits of beekeeping. These farmers will then be able to buy their low cost beehives, which are outfitted with a number of sensors. These sensors allow for large scale collection of bee data, and help beekeepers maintain a healthy and happy hive. Shehed is based in Mumbai, India, and are looking to disrupt the global #Honeybee market with their smart beehive.

Oxmosis (UK)

The Oxmosis research team has developed a small scale forward osmosis filter, and the key strength of their system is the low energy consumption and the high reaction efficiency compared to the conventional membrane unit. This technology can revolutionize wastewater treatment around the world by creating agricultural fertilizer as a byproduct. The Oxmosis PhD students are conducting their research on #CleanWater in Oxford, United Kingdom.

2014

🌟 InnoVision (Bangladesh)
TFF GRAND PRIZE

Team Innovision developed a social enterprise to deliver solar-powered, micro-climate chambers to small scale farmers in Bangladesh. Portable and made of locally sourced materials, the chambers they will provide use an evaporation cooling system to increase the shelf life of fruits and vegetables. The team’s program aims to provide an aff ordable way to reduce post-harvest losses across Bangladesh. Farmers benefit from more income, fewer wasted resources and a better bargaining position.

🌟 FoPo Food Powder (Sweden)
1ST TFF RUNNER UP

FoPo Food Powder aims to convert ugly, unsellable, and almost expiring food into an innovative food powder with dozens of uses including molecular gastronomy, humanitarian aid, space missions and more. FoPo, which works exclusively with produce that would have otherwise been discarded, preserves food through a process of sublimation, or freeze-drying, and turns it into powder form. This powder has a substantially longer shelf life than fresh produce and preserves nutritional properties and taste.

🌟 Aahaar (India)
2ND TFF RUNNER UP

The team developed on a cold-storage truck service with pre-cooling and sensor-aided automation units that adjust temperature metrics based on specific crop needs, with an aim to reduce post-harvest losses.

C-fu (USA)

Advancing Insect-Sourced Foods C-fu is about seriously engaging consumers on the idea of entomophagy by drawing equivalence between insect-derived protein and conventional protein sources like beef and chicken. C-fu is a unique, 100% insect meat that’s more than a product, it’s a sustainable, food innovation platform that can spur hundreds of consumer friendly, insect-sourced products. The team aims to revolutionize how we think of bugs and create a whole new kind of farm, farmer and consumer.

Food UP! (Australia)

Food UP! is a new take on urban agriculture and vertical farming. Small- scale and supported by a peer-to-peer food swapping mobile app, Food UP! Will reduce waste and create food-conscious communities. It includes a worm farm that produces fertile soil through composting, paired with stacked drawers which can be adjusted or removed for harvesting. The free Food Swap app allows consumers to swap extra veggies with their neighbours.

KinoSol (USA)

KinoSol is a detachable, mobile, solar dehydrator that dries food for consumption and sale, and has mylar-lined storage to extend the shelf life of dried food. Produce that might otherwise expire can be dehydrated and stored, providing valuable vitamins and minerals after the growing season ends. Durable wheels and a detachable dehydrator make for easy transportation, allowing one the additional option to sell the dehydrated produce in the market, increasing family income.

Microfund (Uganda)
Microfund is a community-based food exchange platform that facilitates food sharing, exchange and trade among smallholder communities. In places like rural Uganda, families typically only have access to the food they produce which can lead to chronic malnutrition. Microfund community centers address this by receiving food from families that would like to barter, share, process or sell their produce.
Project Siros (UK)

Airtight grain storage bags with thermochromic and hydrochromic labels to improve grain storage and reduce post-harvest losses for small scale farmers in developing countries.

Rooty Roofs (Brazil)

Rooty Roofs is an integrated solution that will reduce the distance between crops and consumers by growing produce on urban rooftops. Rooty Roofs will lease a rooftop and install a specialized unit, which with other roofs will supply local demand, after being processed in a post-harvest station and then distributed to homeowners and markets. This system, which will include precision farming and specialized management for each culture, will reduce water and energy needs.

Youth Ag-education & Innovation Cooperative (YAIC) (USA)

YAIC encourages youth involvement in agriculture through a cooperative that implements aquaponics and other innovative agricultural practices to remedy food insecurity. YAIC uses an experiential learning model that includes a curriculum program focused on operating a successful cooperative. The team will bring together youth from around the world, create positive perceptions of agriculture and promote economic opportunities. Together, these youth will feed the future.

Connect with the teams

Interested in learning more about any of the Finalist Teams?

It is key to our programs to provide past participants with a continuous support network and connect them to relevant people in the industry. If you are interested in learning more about any of the past TFF Challenge Finalist Teams, we would be happy to hear from you.