Based on Article 27 and Article of the Law on Innovation Activity (“Official Gazette of the Republic of Macedonia” No. 79/13, 137/13, 41/14, 44/15, 6/16, 53/16, 190/16 and 64/18), and regarding the Rules for organizing and conducting competitions or challenges to encourage innovation in the priority areas of science and technology dated 20.01.2020 arch. no. 01-514/17, ,the Rules for supplementing the Rules for organizing and conducting competitions and challenges to encourage innovation in the priority areas of science and technology from 16.03.2020,arch. no. 01-797/6, and the Rules amending the Rules for organizing and conducting competitions and challenges to encourage innovation in the priority areas of science and technology dated 01.06.2020,arch. no. 01-1662 / 5, the Fund for Innovation and Technological Development on March 16, 2021, announces the public call for:
“Digitization of Agriculture”
Sustainable agriculture is at the heart of the United Nations (UN) “Sustainable Development Goals” and the first fundamental step towards securing a zero-hunger world. According to the UN Agenda, by 2030, sustainable food production systems should be provided and sustainable agricultural practices should be implemented which in turn increase the productivity and production, helping to maintain ecosystems that strengthen their capacity to adapt to climate changes, extreme weather conditions, drought, floods and other disasters that gradually improve the quality of the land and soil.
COVID-19, as a hitherto unprecedented health, economic and social crisis that endangers lives and livelihoods, made an even greater challenge in achieving these goals. At a time when we are facing the effects of the pandemic on the food and agricultural sectors, timely measures are needed to ensure that food supply chains are kept alive in order to minimize the risk of major shocks that have a significant impact on everyone, especially the poorest and most vulnerable categories.
The role of digital innovation in agriculture is to harness the power of digital technologies to pilot, accelerate and increase the scope of innovative ideas with high potential for positive impact on agriculture and food production. In the past period, agriculture, together with hunting, forestry and fishing has achieved a total increase in gross value added of 4.5%. The sector records a continuous annual increase of the value from 871,400,000 euros in 2014 to 910,900,000 euros in 2019, except in 2017 due to the impact of weather conditions. On the other hand, the relative share of the agricultural sector in the gross value added decreased from 10.2% to 8.1% due to the higher value added realized in the other more propulsive economic activities. Together with the processing industry, the share in GDP reaches 12% in GDP, ie it is in third place after industry and services. However, this industry remains unrecognized and fragmented, and the adoption of digital technologies is very slow.
Digital agriculture ideally leads to economic growth by enabling farmers to extract maximum production from their land. Timely and accurate information contributes to making the right and timely decisions that result in success in growing crops, increased productivity and increased incomes. With this challenge, we are looking for advanced start-ups that have already developed a prototype of an innovative product/service, which will contribute to increase the productivity and income of agricultural holdings, provide sustainable food production systems and accelerate the digital transformation of the agricultural sector.
Let’s use technology to improve all segments of agricultural production!
This challenge of the Fund shall be realized in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy (MAFWE) and the Program for Increasing Market Employability (NAME).
Agricultural technologies can include a wide range of agricultural products, services or applications: drones, satellite imagery and sensors, IoT-based sensor networks, weather forecast monitoring, automatic irrigation, light and heat control, intelligent analysis of software for prediction of pests and diseases in plants, biotechnology, management of agricultural machinery, soil management as well as solutions based on applications with which farmers through their smartphones can get information about the prices of crops, sowing season, implementation of agro-technical measures, harvesting techniques, when and where to sell their products and so on.
Additionally, the proposed innovative solutions may relate to the digitization of post-harvest activities and the process of processing agricultural products, which may include digital products, services or applications used to enhance and monitor processes of harvesting, transport, sorting, storage, packaging, labelling, processing, and market delivery in order to add value to products, while increasing process efficiency, reducing losses and waste and increasing environmental protection.
Based on this, within the challenge“Digitization of Agriculture”each Competitor has the opportunity to submit a proposal solution in one of the following categories:
Smart farming has a holistic approach to agricultural innovation and is the adoption and combination of smart technologies such as sensors, Internet of Things (IoT), automation and cloud-based platforms that enhance every aspect of crop management and transform agricultural production.
Precision agriculture or Site-specific Crop Management (SSCM) means using probes to measure certain parameters, satellite imagery or drones to create strategies for best efficiency and use advanced farming practices to monitor, cultivate and manage crops.
Advanced robotics, automated machinery and drones are key to increase the efficiency of agricultural production in the future. Automated large-scale mechanization can take on many aspects of large-scale agriculture. The new generation of precision robotic manipulators can locate and identify the product, select and harvest it based on its size and degree of maturity.
In addition, automatic irrigation systems optimize crop growth and water use.
Recent advances in biotechnology have greatly contributed to the improvement of agricultural production. Genetic engineering helps to create seeds and seedlings that are adapted to different environments and climate changes. In addition, biotechnology helps identify better methods to control pests.
Databases and Artificial Intelligence optimize almost all aspects of crop management through the use of probes and sensors that record weather conditions, as well as record changes in soil composition and structure and crop production efficiency. These two technologies bring improvements in business and operational processes based on information already received.
Digital solutions can be applicable in post-harvest activities such as controlled ripening and drying operations, transport to the packaging center, sorting, cleaning, selection, storage at controlled temperature and atmospheric conditions, carbon dioxide emission reduction systems, reducing product waste, inspection of used protective means (pesticides, insecticides), fumigation, and additional quality control and improvement systems. The proposal for advanced digital technology can refer to sustainable ways and materials for packaging, re-designing and monitoring the process of data reprocessing and processing in every part of the chain down to retail.
Drones and satellites measure and monitor fields, create field maps, control the quality of field work and provide large amounts of phyto-geomorphological data for optimal agricultural management. For example, multispectral and hyperspectral cameras mounted on drones show the use of water and fertilizer, then crop yields and, also indicate the emergence of diseases and pests, which ultimately contribute to solving these problems at an early stage and provide higher yields.
The Internet of Things integrates sensor technologies and monitoring solutions into the existing agricultural process (mechanization) to generate the precise data needed in the day-to-day decision-making of farmers and agricultural businesses. Real-time data processing contributes to activating and monitoring the effectiveness of automation systems and their future improvement.
The implementation of the project can be up to 12 (twelve) months.
The Fund may, based on justified circumstances, approve extensions of the project implementation for up to 6 (six) months.
A total budget of 6.000.000 (six million) denars has been provided for financing projects within this call.
For an individual project proposal, the Fund provides financing up to 90% (ninety percent) of the total project budget, in a maximum amount of 1,500,000 (one million and five hundred thousand) denarsA minimum of 10% (ten percent) ) of the total project budget must be provided by the Competitor.
Funds received from the Fund on any other basis or any other state aid, shall not be considered eligible funds for co-financing by the Competitor – beneficiary of funds from the Fund.
If there are not enough quality project proposals or the conditions for financing are not met, the Fund reserves the right not to award funds.
“The “Market Employability Enhancement Program”(NAME), funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, shall provide two types of support for applicants and prospective beneficiaries: mentoring and support regarding the commercialization of innovations
The support shall be directed to the beneficiaries of the Fund selected for this challenge who shall develop digital solutions that are applicable in the agricultural sector in the areas of fresh fruits and vegetables, processed fruits and vegetables, viticulture and winemaking. The conclusion of award granting contracts of the users with NAME shall follow after the conclusion of the contracts with the Fund.
The public call is intended for start-ups that can offer innovative and/or technologically advanced solution on their own, or in cooperation with an institution that performs higher education, i.e. scientific and research activity or another enterprise.
The Competitor (Lead Competitor) shall be a legal entity that meets the following requirements:
If the project proposal involves the Competitor’s cooperation with another enterprise, conditions for the partner shall be the same as for the Lead Competitor.
When applying in a partnership or consortium, the main project holder is the Lead Competitor.
The activities provided in the project proposal should correspond to the phases of research and development, i.e. the advancement of technology from prototype to product/service confirmed in a real environment and ready for the market – Technology Readiness Level (TRL5-TRL9)
Activities may include::
The abovementioned list of activities is not limiting.
The costs estimated in the project budget should correspond to the activities provided in the project application.
Eligible costs for financing:
Only costs incurred during the project in accordance with the approved Project budget and realized by the end of the project are eligible for funding.
Costs that are not eligible for financing:
Only the costs incurred for activities carried out for the duration of the project, which are in accordance with the approved Project Budget and the Rules for organizing and conducting competitions and challenges to encourage innovation in the priority areas of science and technologyshall be considered eligible costs.
The Fund reserves the right to negotiate with the winners on defining the project activities and budget based on the recommendations received from the Evaluation and Selection Committee (hereinafter: the Committee), prior to the signing of the Award Granting Contract.
In case the project is based on existing intellectual property rights, the Competitor shall be obliged, before signing the Award Granting Contract, to submit proof of the right to use the intellectual property in the form of a licensing agreement, in-kind contribution agreements, or other type of agreement confirming that the Competitor has the right to use the intellectual property on which the project results are based.
The Fund is not liable for intellectual property rights disputes between the Beneficiary and third parties.
All intellectual property rights and know-how that will be created during the implementation of the Project and / or as a result of the implementation of the Project belong to the Beneficiary and if applicable, the Beneficiary should protect the intellectual property rights.
The process, from the receipt of the received applications to the selection and making the final decision for selection and allocation of funds to the beneficiary/ies, consists of several steps:
Each project proposal shall be evaluated by the Evaluation and Selection Committee, consisting of:
The Committee operates on the basis of a Rules of Procedure of the Evaluation and Selection Committee that is adopted at the first meeting of the Committee.
NOTE: Upon request of the members of the Committee, the Fund shall have the right to hire experts who shall give an expert opinion on certain applications, appropriate to the area of their expertise. In such a case, the expert opinion shall be taken into account by the members of the Committee when evaluating the application.
The main criteria for evaluating project proposals shall be:
The main criteria and sub-criteria for project evaluation are given in the Evaluation Table form.
When applying, the following documents must be submitted:
Project documentation (signed and stamped by an authorized representative of the Competitor, and available through the Fund’s website):
CV’s of the key persons engaged in the project (for a maximum of five persons)
The overall documentation should be submitted in Macedonian language. The project documentation must be submitted on the forms prepared by the Fund.
The project documentation together with the CVs should be attached to the application form available at the following link: https://fitr.mk/agrodigital/ by clicking the “Apply” button.
The deadline for applying for the public call is until 16.04.2021, until 14:00.
Only those project proposals that have been submitted in the above manner and within the given deadline shall be considered for funding.
The rules and procedures for implementation, monitoring and supervision of the project are defined in the document Rules for organizing and conducting competitions and challenges to encourage innovation in the priority areas of science and technology from 20.01.2020 and Rules for supplementing the Rules for organizing and conducting competitions and challenges to encourage innovation in the priority areas of science and technology from 16.03.2020 and 01.06.2020 година.
For all additional information you can:
In order to help you prepare the project proposals, the Fund will organize info-events; free technical assistance from experts; and mentoring workshops during the call.
Information on these activities will be published in a timely manner on the Fund’s website as well as on the Fund’s official profiles and NAME on social networks (Facebook and Instagram).
Во рамките на овој повик, обврските траат се до завршувањето на имплементацијата на проектот.
Сметката може и претходно да биде отворена, но истата треба да е чиста и преку неа да не се спроведуваат никакви плаќања ниту да има приливи за времетраење на проектот.
Сточарството како дел од земјоделството секако е во рамките на овој предизвик. Проектот ќе ги исполни условите на повикот доколку влезе во некоја од следните области на дигитализација:Паметно земјоделство, Прецизно земјоделство, Роботика и автоматизација, Биотехнологија, Бази на податоци и вештачка интелигенција, Дигитализација на пост-бербени активности и преработка, Дронови и сателити и Интернет на нештата.
Овој јавен повик е наменет за новоосновани трговски друштва (стратапи) кај кои не се поминати повеќе од 6 години од основањето. Доколку има поминато повеќе од 6 години од основањето на трговското друштво постојат 2 можности:
Доколку предлог-проектот вклучува соработка на натпреварувачот со друго претпријатие, условите за партнерот се исти како и за водечкиот натпреварувач. Тоа значи дека партнерот треба да биде правно лице кои ги исполнува истите услови како и водечкиот натпреварувач. Партнерството истовремено може да означува и директно учество во буџетот односно во кофинансирањето на проектот. Доколку нема партнер во проектот, податоците за натпреварувачот се внесуваат само во првиот, воведен дел на апликацијата, во Точка 1. Основни податоци за натпреварувачот. Соработката со трети страни може да биде остварена и преку договори со правни или физички лица за вршење на одредени работи поврзани со проектот, што се евидентира во проектната апликација како и во буџетот на проектот: ставка III Трошоци за техничка поддршка.
За поединечен предлог проект, Фондот обезбедува финансирање до 90% (деведесет проценти) од вкупниот буџет за проектот, во максимален износ од 1.500.000 (еден милион и петстотини илјади) денари. Од страна на натпреварувачот треба да бидат обезбедени минимум 10% (десет проценти) од вкупниот буџет на проектот.
7.Дали Земјоделските задруги се прифатливи за аплицирање на проектот за Дигитализација на земјоделството?Посебно поради условот: „Да е трговско друштво основано согласно Законот за трговски друштва и регистрирано во Централниот регистар на Република Северна Македонија“?
Согласно Јавниот повик – Дигитализација на земјоделството, како апликанти можат да се јават правни субјекти кои ги исполнуваат условите. Еден од тие услови е: Да е трговско друштво основано согласно Законот за трговски друштва и регистрирано во Централниот регистар на Република Северна Македонија.