BAJA potato project

In Scientia Opportunitas

BAJA potato project wants to make potato production more sustainable, through collaboration with farmers on a GM crop.

Use Case

In potato production, the effects of potato blight are devastating. Through fungicides, we are able to suppress this problem. But spraying up to 20 times per season is needed. Researchers already implemented resistance genes into the potato. This makes the plant a GM crop. But more important, this makes the farmer able to not spray any fungicides anymore. We want to help farmers adapt to this new crop. Through consulting, we also want to make farmers produce sustainable. Towards the consumer, we are interested in marketing this potato. Although there is a big controversy about GMO’s, we believe there is a market for sustainable GM potatoes. First, we also want to gather researchers, industry and NGO’s, and convince the European governments of the great potential of this crop.


The idea of the GM potato, is not new. What we do is . We want to be a smart company. Through implementing the this crop sustainably, it can stay in production for several years, before the resistance is broken. Furthermore, we want to bring a product to the market. Because we believe that the disadvantage of GM, could also be an advantage, if we market the product honestly and truthful. BAJA really wants to help the environment, but does this by implementing an economic incentive. Indeed, economically the farmer wants this crop, because it saves him money. But he also helps the environment. Other potential of our idea lies in the developing world. By implementing this crop sustainably, and helping farmers to market the product, we can help people find their way out of poverty.

Business Case

As a company, BAJA wants to make profit through consulting farmers to be a sustainable potato producer, and through putting the potato on the market. We want to be more than a company that works with farmers. We want farmers to be a part of BAJA. A part of the company will be owned by them. This way, they can decide what they want and we can better assure sustainable pricing for them. We need to look on the short and on the long term. Short term success would be playing a role in the legislation of the GM potato. Long term success on the other hand would imply that we build out a company, together with farmers, in Europe and in developing countries.


  1. Help in making the worldwide potato production more sustainable.
  2. Work together with farmers to help them and the environment.
  3. Put a GM product on the market and make people aware of the sustainability of the product.

Team BAJA potato project

Gent, Belgium

We are ready! / Published January 11, 2017 by Bram Van Hecke

We are ready!

Last Thursday most of us came together to finalize the last points and make the finishing touches. This is already quite a time ago but we all have exams at this time of the year! But to show how much we believe in our project, we made a final selfie already!

Whether we win or not, it was a pleasure! This team was very fun to work with and the Design Lab learned us to develop our project! If we have the luck to go to the next round in Amsterdam, that would be an honor for us personally, but also because we would have the opportunity to develop our project even further!

Hope to post more soon!

Bram, Arthur, Joris, Aaron - BAJA

Perfect video skills / Published December 31, 2016 by Bram Van Hecke

Perfect video skills

Blood, sweat and tears were needed, but we have great news to share! We have made a 2 minute video about our idea. It is almost ready and it is exciting! Although we all do not have the best creative minds, or filming skills, or video editing skills, we think we did a quite good job. It might explain a little more about our concept, but it still leaves some mysteries. We are putting the last hand on it, and will share it shortly! We hope you guys will like it!

We spent a lot of time brainstorming on the project. Although we already prepared a lot in our heads and we did not have to follow every step, it was still a big learning process. We thought about our weaknesses, the other opportunities and why we are “special”. It was a few busy days. But when it all comes together on the paper (or in a video, whatever), you can really see what you have made.

So we can say that we still believe in our project. We believe that this project can really work in the fast turning food and agricultural environment of today!
We will share the video soon, so stay tuned!

Bram, Arthur, Joris, Aaron – BAJA

The end is near / Published December 28, 2016 by Arthur Wyckaert

The end is near

We are close to the last chapter of the design lab, the interactive site to help develop an idea on the TFF site. Honestly, we did not follow the guidelines as strictly as we should have. Because we had an idea already and we did not want another one to interfere with that. Now we are ready: we did the research, we did the constraints, we did the iterations…

Or maybe we only started now? The practical development of the pitch only starts at this moment. With the deadline coming close, this means that only a small amount of time is left. The outcome of our project will depend on what happens next. But it is very important to work on the brainstorming first. What we will do now is only putting our ideas into a format that is easy to understand.

Stay tuned, we will keep updating you!
Bram, Arthur, Joris, Aaron - BAJA

Not everything in the garden is rosy / Published December 28, 2016 by Arthur Wyckaert

Not everything in the garden is rosy

We have a great idea. We worked it out. We overthought it and overthought it. It is not a silver bullet, indeed. But does the silver bullet even exist? There are some constraints and possible problems with the idea. Yes, not everything in the garden is rosy. Yet we still believe in the idea.
In a way, defining the problems with your concept is enlightening. By thinking about the possible negative sides, you look more critically at the problem. Yes we did define some possible constraints:

- How will legislation react and interact?
- What will the political and economic powers do?
- Will farmers easily adapt?
- Will consumers easily habituate to the idea?
- How will the public opinion engage with this issue?
- Will the organization be profitable (for farmers, environment and ourselves?)

These are serious questions. We honestly don't know the answer. We have guesses. We did quite a bit of research on these problem. We know that the answer will only be there once we bring the problem on the street and to the people.

Yes, there are problems. Yes, we are not sure about the outcome of the idea. But hey, didn't every entrepreneur jump into the dark? We, as BAJA, believe that it is important to push through with a project. Even if it seems difficult.

So we are still positive and exited!
Bram, Arthur, Joris, Aaron - BAJA

About potatoes, sustainable farmers and happy consumers / Published December 27, 2016 by Bram Van Hecke

About potatoes, sustainable farmers and happy consumers

Our idea is ready to be shared with the wide world. We want to help the world. We want to help the farmers in particular. We are linked very closely to the farming world and we believe that through helping farmers, we help feeding the world. We believe that if the position of farmers in the food chain is stronger, they will be able to feed the world better and more sustainable. We saw an opportunity near our own homes, in Belgium. If you hear Belgium, you hear potatoes of course!

We want to help potato farmers, in Belgium and everywhere in the world. Lately there is a GM build resistance against potato blight in Belgium, developed by a Belgian university. This would help farmers that need to spray more than 15 times a year to keep the fungus away right now.

We want to help farmers by helping them adapt to this new technology. And by putting the GM product on the market together with the farmer. We want the farmer to be a part of the entity, of the company, so they can help decide what they want and how they want to implement things.

I hear a small sarcastic voice in the back of the room: “But how will you legislate the GM crop in the European Union? This will never work.” Did Nelson Mandela not say that “It always seems impossible until it's done?” And we of course have a plan.

We did some research and the love for GM crops might not be as big as it should be, this is a GM crop that is good for the environment without any consequences! If we can convince some NGO’s to support us and to help us think how to use this GM crop sustainable, this might pass. And after that, the real quest only starts: doing what we are talking about.

This might all look fuzzy in your head, but it is very clear in ours. We will update you in the coming blogposts, but keep yourself updated and stay excited for our project!!

Bram, Arthur, Joris, Aaron – BAJA

Our Team

Our Mission

BAJA is a concern made by four young friends concerning food and farmers security. By solving problems farmers have, we try to help the whole world. Design statement: We want to help potato farmers through the sustainable use of a GM crop, so they can produce a financially, environmentally and cheap product to feed people worldwide.

Our Background

We are four bioscience engineers to be (studying for a MSc now) from Ghent University, passionate about sustainable farming and food security. Two members of the team grew up on a farm, the other two just have a great affinity with agriculture. These views make the ideas diverse and valuable. More than a group of fellow students, we are a group of friends. This helps us to work together and understand each other. More than four individuals, we are one big group!

Our Badges

  • Power Team
    Your team has at least three members
  • Design Lab Experts
    Attended at least one of the weekly TFF Design Lab “office hours” sessions.
  • We Famous
    Your project has been covered by your university or other media outlet
  • Get #Social
    Created team Facebook or Twitter page and attached to team page
  • Fan Club
    You have 100 likes or followers on your team Facebook or Twitter
  • Interior Architect
    Posted three pictures of your team workspace
  • Idea Parkers
    Shared a picture of your teams unique “idea parking”
  • Global Foodies
    Posted three facts about global food issues learned in the Explore mode
  • Insight + Insight + Insight
    Shared three new insights your team formulated in the Define mode
  • On Time, On Target
    Shared your Design Statement created during the Define mode
  • Post-it Fiends
    Shared pics of the chaos of the post-it filled Ideate work mode
  • Brain Food
    In the Ideate intro video, Richard shares an important tip while eating an apple. Share a team-apple-eating pic!
  • Expert Input
    Shared three pieces of expert feedback on your concept
  • GIF Masters
    Shared a GIF of the prototype building frenzy
  • Live Testing
    Shared a video of a user testing your concept
  • Way To Go
    Shared a picture of your plan for iterating your project
  • Etch-A-Sketch
    Shared your logo sketching session on your team blog
  • WE DID IT!!
    Submitted Final Pitch, including videos and concept details
The information contained here represents student project ideas developed as the result of brainstorming activities during Round 1 of the TFF Challenge. It does not represent any final business plans or commercial products.