Abdu Usanase, Chief Executive of Agri-research Organization, was last week recognized among the outstanding 50 continental projects in the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). SDSN Youth is an initiative of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, a programme launched by the UN Secretary General to mobilize global expertise around the Sustainable Development Goals. Usanase, who walked away with an award estimated at $20000-$50,000, leads a team of 26 Rwandan Agri-business researchers. Commenting about the development, Jeffrey D. Sachs, American economist who was part of the selecting committee, noted that “Young people are crucial leaders of change, and we need their ideas and solutions now more than ever in order to achieve the SDGs by 2030.” He added; “During one of the most difficult times for the world population, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, these young innovators succeeded in pivoting their ideas and adapting successfully to the world’s critical challenges. Let us learn from these successes, and shine a light on their creative ideas and solutions.” Usanase’s team was awarded for the Smart-Input solution, an android application that will help farmers precisely use agricultural inputs including Seed, fertilizers and pesticides. How does Smart Input work? Speaking to The New Times, Usanase explained that Smart Input will among other things ensure a good safety level use of agrochemicals by farmers. “This will help reduce chemical residues in agricultural products, protecting consumers from the potentially harmful chemicals. The overall objective is to make agriculture more efficient and environment-friendly.” According to Usanase, pesticides and chemical fertilizers malpractice among small-scale farmers have contributed to environmental pollution. Similarly, he added that defective chemical fertilizers application methods have harmful effects on both our surroundings and health. “This means that equipping farmers and agrochemical dealers with sufficient knowledge regarding proper use, handling and the potential dangers of pesticides improper practices is the only practically feasible solution. In fact, farming communities, especially in developing countries don’t have a good level of this information,”Usanase said. “Agri-research organisation developed a user-friendly, offline android application that can provide useful information regarding daily on-farm practices to boost agricultural production while saving the country’s environment,” the young entrepreneur said. The award Commenting on the continental recognition, Usanase pointed out that it is an indicator that his organisation’s vision has its work cut off; making Rwanda’s agriculture a less climate-sensitive, environment-friendly, economically leading sector. “Besides, the cash prize, they will help in boosting our visibility, connecting to partners for capacity building and funding opportunities,” he said. Going forward, he said that the organization seeks to scale up the project in order to benefit the global community. “We are ambitious to foster research culture in youth, engage youth in agriculture, diversify crop production, crop productivity and reduce post-harvest losses.” In Rwanda pesticide and chemical fertilizer malpractice among small-scale farmers has contributed to environmental pollution. Reports indicate that offsite movement of transformation products of pesticides and chemical fertilizers contaminate groundwater, exposing human life that consume water as well as the aquatic eco-system.