Beirut: Under the patronage of the Prime Minister Saad Hariri, and with the support of the Kingdom of The Netherlands, Berytech organized Lebanon’s first Agri-food Innovation day at Biel on Tuesday as part of its Agrytech program.
In his opening speech, Maroun Chammas, CEO of Berytech, noted that agriculture in Lebanon needs a revolution and explained Berytech’s mission with Agrytech which is stimulating innovation in the agri-food sector.
Next, Nadim Khater, CCO of Touch, took the stage and surprised the audience by announcing the company’s collaboration with Agrytech startup Iotree, by using a new technology to give them low latency and low power to use sensors in their solution for local farmers.
Iotree is a network of smart electronic traps based on artificial intelligence that detects and identifies harmful pests in farms and advises farmers on how to get rid of them.
On his behalf, the ambassador of Netherlands in Lebanon, Jan Waltmans said: “Many of the youth I meet in Lebanon ask me how they can get to Netherlands, but, the youth I met at Agrytech are excited about solving problems in their own country. Today we are celebrating these youth.”
Additionally, the newly announced Minister of State for Information Technology Adel Afiouny announced his upcoming plan.
“I’m honored and excited to lead the first ministry that is dedicated to ICT in Lebanon. My key objective to create a national digitization strategy that will boost productivity across all sectors,” he said.
Following his speech, Jihane Chahla, cluster manager, announced the launch of the Agri-food innovation cluster “Qoot” which mission is to establish closer relationships between small, medium and large enterprises in agriculture in order to provide added value to the overall market.
During the event, under a sky-like black ceiling filled with stars, industry leaders, professionals, entrepreneurs, investors, startups and many others gathered to share their visions and innovations in the field of agriculture. Startup leaders enthusiastically pitched their ideas dazzling their audience with their creativity and capabilities.
Participants also benefited from an ideation workshop with Berytech’s support team that discussed ways to filter ideas, find the one with the greatest potential and turn it into a successful startup. Another workshop by BLC Bank discussed the financial sector in different contexts.
Exhibitors included established companies such as; Daher Foods, Chateau Kefraya, Al Rifai, and Goutblanc, and the most innovative startups of the Agrytech Accelerator program.
Some startups were food-related like “Mothers’ Cooking” which is an online platform that connects hungry foodies with stay-at-home mothers for delicious meals, and Agrieats which is an online source of authentic products that are exclusively made by women and rural dwellers.
Other startups tackled different problems such as Waste-to-Power which promotes sustainable living by providing a cheaper fuel that can help save the environment; it collects frying oil and then converts it into biofuel.
Lubna Qaryouti, came all the way from Jordan just to attend the event.
“I am interested in new ideas and initiatives that are implemented in this country; I believe this event is a revolution and I would be thrilled if there was a cooperation between Jordan and Lebanon to organize such an event there,” she said.
Keynote speaker Carla Tanas, a serial entrepreneur who has lived on three continents and lectures in Innovation and Entrepreneurship at a number of different universities.
Her main focus is the Future Agro Challenge, an agri-food global innovation leadership platform dedicated to putting agripreneurs in the front lines to address the need to feed more than nine billion people by 2050 in a sustainable and nutritious manner. Berytech is the official partner of Future Agro Challenge in Lebanon.
After her speech, she announced the winners of the Future Agro Challenge in Lebanon: Compost Baladi who received $2000, and runner up Clean 20 who received $1000.
Last but not least, the event ended with a panel discussion moderated by Krystel Khalilwith with Evert Jaap, managing director at YES!Delft, Netherlands; Gustavo Perez, program manager at STOI Project; Rani Azzi, wine yard manager, assistant and technical director at Chateau Kefraya; and Yasmine Raphael, head of business environment and innovation at Lebanon’s prime minister office.
Lebanon Agri-Food Innovation Day was supported by BLC Bank, Touch, BEL Group, and BIEL.
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