Identifying Solutions to Crop Damage Caused by Birds

This Innovation Exchange challenge, delivered by Innovate UK KTN through the Global Alliance Africa project, is supporting a large Agri-based Manufacturing Company with operations across Africa, which is looking for innovative solutions to prevent crop damage caused by migrating birds.

Opportunity Details


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Up to £25,000 seed funding (subject to T&C) to collaborate with the challenge holder on this specific challenge.

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Damage to crops by birds is an enormous challenge in Africa. As the Birds migrate across the country, they often find suitable food sources in farm crops. The birds will nest nearby in great numbers and take advantage of the localised, plentiful food supply. The destruction of these flocks is not allowed so the farmers need to find a way of either keeping them from landing on the crops or moving them on further down their migration routes.

The economic impact from the destroyed crops can be as high as 50% revenue loss. Birds feeding on grains reduce harvest yield and therefore impact the supply chain and food security, which in turn affects livelihoods.

Currently, the birds are scared away through manual labour which is inefficient and not sustainable.

This iX challenge is looking for novel solutions to address the challenge.

Solutions should not be based on the destruction of birds. It is therefore necessary to prevent them from landing on the crops and to move them further along their migration routes without feeding on farmed cereals. Many farms do not have power sources available, hence the solution should be self-powering or function off-grid.

It must also be considered that, as with most birds, they have a range of predators. So consider that any entities used to scare them may fit in a hierarchy and be attacked themselves.

Target audiences

We anticipate solutions may come from, but are not limited to, the following sectors:

  • AgriTech
  • Materials
  • AI
  • Acoustics
  • Design
  • Infrastructure
  • Chemical and Biological solution (excluding solution with negative environmental impact)

There will be an information event and Q&A about this challenge on 17th June 2022.  Please check the link below for event booking details nearer the time.

Rewards & Benefits

Successful applicants will be given the opportunity to pitch their solution to the Challenge Holder.
The selected Solution Provider(s) will collaborate with the Challenge Holder and gain access to local facilities, eg farmland to carry out trials (piloting the solution).

The package may also include:

  • Up to GBP 25,000 seed funding to work on the solution for this specific challenge in collaboration with the Challenge Holder. Funding will be paid in instalments, subject to de minimus aid regulation, due diligence check and milestones achievement (e.g. project plan, mid-project report and final report) and sign-off by the Challenge Holder.
  • Support from KTN (e.g. pitch training and mentoring)
  • Support in the development of a prototype or pilot
  • Technical support
  • Invitation to attend or present at IUK KTN events

Functional Requirements

  • Solution will be applied in Africa
  • Solution needs to be applicable for average land and farm size which is usually between 1-2 acres (0.4 to 0.8 Ha)
  • Solution in use throughout the year, with the high season for protection (twice a year): December/January and June/July
  • Protection from a variety of birds required. Details on key species can be found here, however, this list is not comprehensive.
  • Variety of crops impacted ranging from small crops (70-100 cm) to taller crops (1m-1.2m)
  • Crop planting: 90% are planted in rows, with 25 cm between plants and 75 cm between rows
  • Solutions need to be credible, affordable, and easy to maintain. The implementation of the solution should not be disruptive. The skills needed to operate the solution must be transferable
  • Ideally, the solution will be deployed within 6 months – 1 year (prototype)
  • 5 – 10 prototypes of the solution are needed for the trial on farmland between 1-2 acres (0.4-0.8 Ha)

Technical Requirements

  • Solution must be self-powered/ function off-grid

Operating Conditions

  • Solution will be applied in Africa and need to be suitable for the local environment, with average weather conditions of 25-30C, rainfall 500-1000mm/year
  • High-intensity usage of the solution in December/January and June/July. Solution required principally during early mornings and during the day
  • Access to energy supply is limited, solar energy or other renewables might be available
  • Presence of other animals needs to be taken into consideration (e.g. domestic animals)
  • Solution must not interfere with day-to-day farming

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