The Journey of Two Women in Agriculture Technology

Posted on May 10, 2018

IO Tree is a solution able to capture, detect, and warn the farmers about the med fly that is the most dangerous pest targeting the agricultural market in the MENA nowadays. The platform is designed to send alerts via SMS or mobile application informing the farmer when it’s the best time to spray pesticides.

 

The platform that won first place at the Agrytech Hackathon was developed by Nisrine El Turky, a Computer and Communication Engineer (M.Sc.) and Christina Chaccour, an Electrical Engineer. The team of hardworking two women started by winning 2 prizes in the LIRA competition, then participated in 2 Startup Weekends and won first place in SW Mount Lebanon.

 

Winning Idea

“We participated not in only one, but in two startup weekends,” recounts Nisrine. “We explored the problems faced in the agriculture market through the mentorship and expertise of the Berytech team and mentors who were present during that weekend. This is where we developed our business model. After two startup weekends that provided us with all the necessary tools to come up with a solution of utmost priority to the market, we were able to validate our idea to the judges and the audience and win the startup weekend in Mount Lebanon. We were thrilled that the solution that we offered was relevant, and started to elaborate it further. We connected with NGOs and agriculture companies to see if they’re interested in our product and to deepen our knowledge in the market. All of this made us ready for the Agrytech Hackathon. During the hackathon, we built a functioning prototype using the Berytech Fab Lab and developed a mobile application. After all the hard work and the guidance provided by the professional experts and mentors and the facilities provided in the venue, we succeeded in the Agrytech Hackathon!”

 

Electronics, Technology and Agriculture

Nisrine’s passion for electronics started at an early age. She had developed from scratch hundreds of projects in the fields of mechatronics, electronics, communications and networking. She found in Christina an excellent business partner who shares similar interests and makes a great match to her knowledge. Together they were looking for a way to integrate technology in agriculture, an industry that is under-served providing a lot of business potential.

 

The business idea sparked in Nisrine’s head when she saw farmers trying to desperately sell their apple production for very small prices. Prices that cannot refund the mounting costs of plowing, trimming, pesticides, fertilizers and storage. “It made me realize how crucial it is to improve the Lebanese agricultural sector, so these farmers have a better living,” explains Nisrine.

 

Now that they are admitted to the Agrytech Accelerator, the two ladies will go through phase #1: the Bootcamp, where they will receive intensive trainings and coaching to present a Minimum Viable Product. IO Tree will need to make it through phase one to be moved into acceleration and then incubation with funding and support reaching more than 100 thousand US dollars. “Our aim is to launch our product in the entire MENA region, because our solution targets not only the Lebanese Agricultural sector but solves a crucial problem targeting the entire MENA region.”

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Inspiration

“Take the Challenge, trust yourself, return stronger.” – Nisrine El Turky
“Find your purpose, persist, become unstoppable.” – Christina Chaccour