Home>News>Events>NVSU and University of Mindanao teams tie for Innovation Olympics 2.0 grand prize

NVSU and University of Mindanao teams tie for Innovation Olympics 2.0 grand prize

Innovation Olympics 2

Nueva Vizcaya State University (NVSU) students who created the Automated Irrigation and Nutrient Management (AIRIN) system and University of Mindanao students comprising Project ANGAT who developed the Alipugpug Tech Solutions vertical farming system emerged as winners in the Innovation Olympics 2.0 (IO 2.0), a nationwide agri-hackathon that provided an avenue and opportunity for young Filipinos ​to develop and showcase innovative solutions that can help smallholder vegetable farmers.

With the theme “Precision agriculture for small-scale vegetable farming,” IO 2.0 focused on finding new solutions that can help increase the profitability of smallholder farmers through efficient technologies in crop production.

After months of rigorous work, the winning teams’ distinctive innovative solutions bested the other four finalists for the IO 2.0 top spot. Their technology solutions can enable smallholder vegetable farmers to automate their nutrient management process, minimize labor cost, and connect directly with consumers to improve their margins, yield, and livelihood.

Six finalists were selected from 21 participating teams composed of undergraduate and graduate students from universities across the country. Each finalist received Php 100,000 as seed money for actual testing and implementation of their technology solutions over the course of several months.

The AIRIN system of the NVSU students helps farmers minimize labor cost by only applying the right amount of fertilizer at the right time and in the right place. With AIRIN, farmers get a solar-powered synergistic system with fully automated irrigation and fertigation systems that monitor farm status and send updates via text messaging. This allows vegetable farmers to better understand their farm conditions and respond with correct amendment solutions.

“At the heart of Team AIRIN, our effort comes from the love of the Filipino farmer community. Being sons and daughters of farmers, we know the challenges that they face and this is where our inspiration comes from. It is our passion and purpose to help improve the lives of farmers so they will never have to worry about putting food to the table,” said Myka Fragata in her victory speech. With her on Team AIRIN are Jaime Hapicio and Maricel Farro.


Project ANGAT created a farming system with three components, namely, Malakas, Maganda, and Dumangan. Malakas is an automated solar-powered vertical farming system made of bamboo. Maganda is a water-soluble capsule with formulated organic waste materials that stimulate plant growth and protect against diseases. Dumangan is an online platform that connects the farmers directly to consumers. With this system, vegetable farming will become more convenient and profitable by allowing farmers to access farming inputs and markets for their produce.


“Even if we faced a lot of problems and difficulties during the Innovation Olympics, this is now our victory for Project ANGAT of Team Alipugpug Tech Solution… Let us all continue in our journey in uplifting the lives of small-scale farmers and never stop planting the seeds of change,” said Elpidio Corbeta, Jr. after being announced as one of the grand prize winners. With him on Project ANGAT are Daniel Navarro, Stephen Ponteras, John Taylaran, Kim Tomaro, and Dale Viñalon.

The winning teams took home equal shares of the P250,000 grand prize that will help them further develop their technology solutions and pursue their passion in helping smallholder vegetable farmers.

IO 2.0 was made possible by the collaboration of East-West Seed; the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA); Sensient Colors LLC; and the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) through the UPLB-Technology Transfer and Business Development Office (UPLB-TTBDO), UPLB Startup Innovation and Business Opportunity Linkaging Labs (SIBOL Labs), and APEX: The UPLB Business Network.

“To our six grand finalists, congratulations. You all deserved recognition for making it this far. We sincerely admire your passion for innovation and your drive to make things happen. As your Innovation Olympic journey ends, a new journey in real world will begin. We encourage you to keep your great perseverance and continue to further develop your projects. It’s been a great pleasure and honor at East-West Seed to support talented young innovators like you who share the same goal of empowering our farmers and transforming the agriculture industry,” said Henk Herman, General Manager, East-West Seed Philippines.

Despite the persisting pandemic, the IO 2.0 projects provided an optimistic future for the Philippines’ agriculture sector. They demonstrated that leveraging technology and combining it with farming skills can provide greater results and improvement in the farming industry.

Two teams from the University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines (USTP) in Cagayan de Oro were among the six finalists. One USTP team developed BalZip, a cable-suspended drone for farm monitoring and efficient fertilizer and pesticide distribution. The other USTP team created Chlomet, a low-cost and automated chlorophyll meter device that can provide the exact data on chlorophyll and nitrogen content of the leaves of a plant to help farmers create and apply data-driven decisions with minimal costs.

One of the other finalists developed ARCHIE, a ground robot for precision and judicious pest control developed by a team of students from Saint Louis University, University of Baguio, and University of the Cordilleras. Meanwhile, a team of Asian Institute of Management students created the FarmJuan Management System, a set of technologies to help monitor, analyze, and prescribe appropriate actions to increase the quality and quantity of farm yield while optimizing operational and input costs.

“To our crazy finalists who have crazy youthful ideas, you all hold the future of agriculture. May you continue to step up by taking on this challenge in helping our farmers despite the pandemic. May we never forget to put the human and social aspect in our innovations to help improve our agriculture industry,” said Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio, SEARCA Director and a member of the panel of judges during the grand finals.

About East-West Seed

East-West Seed is the market leader for tropical vegetable seeds in Asia and expanding rapidly in Africa and Latin America. The privately-owned company has played an important role in the development and improvement of tropical vegetable varieties in Southeast Asia and other tropical countries. East-West’s mission is to provide innovative products and services that help to increase the income of vegetable farmers and promote the growth and quality of the tropical vegetable industry.


SEARCA is a non-profit organization established by the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) in 1966 to build capacities in agricultural and rural development in Southeast Asia. From 2020 to 2025, SEARCA focuses it programs to accelerating transformation that elevates the quality of life of agricultural families through sustainable livelihoods and access to modern networks and innovative markets. Carried out in collaboration with key partners and stakeholders, these efforts are intended to contribute to the achievement of selected United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

About Sensient Colors, LLC

Sensient Colors, LLC provides customized color solutions to food and beverage, cosmetic, pharmaceutical and industrial customers around the world. Maintaining the largest portfolio of natural and synthetic colors available in the marketplace through global research and development centers, Sensient is the vanguard of color technology innovation enabling manufacturers and brands to differentiate their products and achieve competitive advantage in their markets. Working with local markets to provide customized product solutions and technical support. Sensient’s global resources and world-class manufacturing facilities help customers achieve greater supply-chain agility and security.

About University of the Philippines – Los Banos (UPLB)

UPLB is one of the seven constituent universities of the UP System and is a world-class institution of higher learning, quality research, and exemplary public service. UPLB’s forebears generated countless breakthroughs in research and established trailblazing leadership in agriculture, veterinary medicine, and forestry education in the country and in Southeast Asia. Its pioneering programs in these fields have been the models and norms of colleges and universities offering the same programs nationwide.

About UPLB Startup Innovation and Business Opportunity Linkaging Labs (SIBOL Labs)

UPLB SIBOL Labs is the pioneer agribusiness and agri-innovation incubator in the Philippines. It aims to nurture the next generation of green startups. It is currently managed by the UPLB Technology Transfer and Business Development Office (TTBDO), one of the most successful and innovative university knowledge and technology transfer centers in the country, serving as the gateway for UPLB technologies and intellectual properties.

About APEX: the UPLB Business Network

APEX: the UPLB Business Network is a duly recognized business organization at the University of the Philippines- Los Baños. The organization envisions establishments of agribusiness start-ups known for leaving a lasting impact in the community. With their mission to sow values and grow leaders, APEX serves as an avenue for the student to fuel their business acumen and spark inclusive national development.

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