An MIT based startup, Ricult established by a Pakistani has won one of the most reputable UN award in a ceremony held in Milan, Italy last week. The award won is titled as “Innovative Ideas and Technology on Agribusiness” by United Nations Industrial Developmental Organization (UNIDO).
The startup instantly made its mark when it was established last year. In addition, it also made it to the list of the most innovative startups in the field of agriculture.
The ceremony was attended by many influential personalities round the globe including former-US President Barack Obama; President of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, Kerry Kennedy; Director General Italian Development Cooperation, Pietro Sebastiani; and Ambassador of Mozambique to Italy, Maria Manuela Lucas. Additionally, many investors, industry experts and stakeholders attended the event. The award function has been one of the conferences arranged under the “Seed and Chips-The Global Food Innovation Summit”.
More than 300 startups had applied for this award from 80 countries, out of which Ricult has been selected as the most promising one. The main objective behind this award is to: uplift the agriculture sector by integrating it with technology in order to improve the socio-economic conditions of farmers in developing countries.
Usman Javaid, Founder and CEO at Ricult, is the man behind the startup. Initially, he gained experience at some of the leading organizations in the country. However, he later went to MIT for an MBA from Sloan School of Management.
After receiving the award, Usman shared his views by stating:
“At the moment there is a lot of dialogue taking place around food safety and security. However, few people realize the importance of empowering smallholder farmers; and the role they play in the grander scheme of things”
He also said that the farmers need to be given the right inputs, technology and information for them to make informed decisions.
What does Ricult have to offer?
A team of MIT graduates came up with the idea to improve the lives of the people who feed the world. The team was led by Usman who had the exposure to work with these farmers while he was working with ENGRO and Nestle.
The founders of the startup identified major issues faced by farmers such as inability to get capital and financial exploitation by the landlords. Ricult offers them the right information by integrating technology with farming practices.
Ricult is primarily an online marketplace where the buyers will buy crops, fertilizers and other micro-nutrients. This website connects the buyers with the farmers and help them get the right price for their products.
Usman had previously given this statement and said:
“Farmers are very smart people. If they see an economic benefit in anything they’ll make a switch. And that is exactly what Ricult is offering them. We are changing the way farming has been done for years now by bringing a more ‘databased’ approach and reducing inefficiencies in the system”