There wasn't a disaster in Ethiopia in 2016, although they had one of their worst famine years ever. What changed from the 1980s and what can we learn from that for the future?
Lors Thmey operates as a business unit within iDE Cambodia with a mission to improve the economic resilience of poor rural households.
iDE is facilitating change by supporting a network of Farm Business Advisors (FBAs), community agents who support small-scale farmers, who are often located in remote areas far away from commercial centers.
Understanding that small-scale farming families have severe resource limitations, iDE works to help minimize the pressure on labor, income, water, and energy by identifying and re-designing technologies existing at the intersection of these four resources, which can have a life-changing impact on struggling farmers.
Llionel Simbarashe Zisengwe is in pursuit of the entrepreneurial spirit. He’s the project manager for a Farm Business Advisor program in Mozambique. He recruits Farm Business Advisors that are motivated, knowledgeable, personable, mobile, and successful farmers themselves.
Better outputs require better inputs, which is why iDE's Farm Business Advisors sell high-quality seeds to their clients.
“The solar pump is very interesting to me. So far, all of the pumps I have seen and known have been powered by man, animal, wind, diesel, or electricity, and they rely on many fast-moving parts. This pump is different because it has no moving parts, and the source of energy is the sun.”
Juddy has been working with John Muta, a Farm Business Advisor (FBA), for the past few years, and through talking with her we came to understand how the FBA program is affecting women’s empowerment in the household. Using the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI), which measures empowerment across domains ranging from decision-making power to control over income, we asked Juddy about her roles.
Two farmers participate in a quantitative assessment by our iQ team, which will be paired with results from a qualitative deep dive administered by our Human-Centered Design team. We interviewed them to understand the successes and barriers to growing and selling a very specific kind of sweet potato: an orange-fleshed sweet potato, high in Vitamin A.
Nicaragua is known for its lakes and rivers—water scarcity has not been a problem until now. The rains are coming less frequently, and weather patterns are less predictable. Farmers like Candelario are having to pivot their practices—making such changes as switching from traditional flood irrigation to water-saving drip irrigation.
Gita Pariyar lives in Lahachok village, within the Kaski district of central Nepal. She is raising 2 daughters and a son while her husband works as a laborer in the Middle East. A member of the disadvantaged Dalit community, she helps supplement her family’s income through agriculture. But she’s noticed a change in the rainfall in Nepal.
Doña Julia lives in a region of Honduras called Marcala, known for its high-quality coffee production. Undernourishment is a widespread problem among coffee farmers in this region. Normally, farmers only earn an income during the four months of coffee harvesting—leaving farmers eight months each year, known as the “thin months,” to survive on their coffee earnings.
iDE provides farmers access to improved seeds and training in proven agricultural practices to increase crop yields that enable small-scale households to have food year-round.
A mother of five, Ho Thi Hiu used to supplement her household’s meager income by growing rice. She would also make a small profit by buying piglets in a nearby town, raising them, and selling them fully-grown. But raising pigs is no easy task.
The use of demonstration plots helps convince skeptical farmers that agricultural technology, like drip irrigation, can make a difference in crop yields and boost their incomes.
Farm business advisors are change agents who dispense information about best practices in technology, fertilizers, pest management, and post-harvest storage through training sessions and demonstrations, as well as sell direct services, such as crop spraying.
Refugees are making new lives with the assistance of agricultural extension agents who provide training, advice, products, and services so that they can build businesses around vegetable production.
It’s not surprising that rural farmers in Burkina Faso are skeptical about technology that you tell them can double the income from their harvest. But when you show them through a demonstration, they believe.
Compared to mainstream fertilizers and air-borne applications, Fertilizer Deep Placement produces 40% less chemical runoff and 30% fewer greenhouse gas emissions. It also increases yields, leading to a win-win for the farmer and for the environment.
Irrigation systems aren't off-the-shelf kinds of purchases. They require proper design, good installation, and operator training. iDE's social enterprise iDEal Tecnologias provides these services to farmers in Nicaragua.
To overcome disasters such as crop disease, iDE works with farmers to diversify their crops and connect to markets, helping them have enough food and money to survive year-round.
In addition to dramatically decreasing the workload of women and girls, Multiple-Use Water Systems provide benefits in health and sanitation, enabling communities to improve their decisions on the allocation of water resources.
By improving access to technical assistance, market information, quality inputs, and new technologies, iDE increases value-chain efficiency and competitiveness to benefit small-scale farmers.
What if one million farmers could grow more food with less water?
Axial flow pumps, power-tiller operated seeders, and mechanical reapers have the potential to transform farming practices by increasing precision and conserving resources. iDE works with local entrepreneurs who can ensure farmers have access to these machines.
In Zambia, the major food crop and staple grown by small-scale farmers is maize. But maize doesn’t return enough profit for farmers to earn an adequate income. Zambia was a market in need of intervention.
Honduras is the leading producer and exporter of coffee in Central America. Doña Julia Rivera is a coffee farmer in Marcala—a region of Honduras known for its high-quality, organic, and sustainably produced coffee beans. Working with iDE, Doña Julia has been able to expand her farm business with the help of drip irrigation and farmer training. Her farm is now an example in her community.
A farmer acting alone will often have to settle for less money in the small window of opportunity she has for selling. But what if this farmer can join with her neighbors, pooling their crops together to share storage and transportation costs, and provide a more attractive package for large buyers?
If you want to solve the world’s problems, you have to be where the action is—and every location is different.
Getting to most of the world’s population isn’t easy. The road that takes you there isn’t paved, but a dirt path, overgrown with vegetation, barely big enough to get your bicycle or motor bike down. In some seasons, the path becomes mud, sucking at your tires and shoes, making each yard a chore. But if we are going to solve poverty, this is the most important distance to travel: the Last Mile.
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