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A 2015 report by Hystra, a global consulting firm that works with business and social sector pioneers to design and implement inclusive business approaches that are profitable and scalable, says it is important that development organizations identify the right farmers and “over-invest” in their farms through tailored and intensive support.
Using profit to build a sustainable business that meets people’s needs, social enterprises flourish while doing good.
Because FBAs are entrepreneurs who connect urban suppliers and buyers to rural smallholder farmers, they can be a powerful force in a time of crisis.
Tropical greenhouse technology incorporates drip irrigation and ultraviolet plastic filtration cover that both protects the plants from heavy rainfall but also accelerates photosynthesis, resulting in healthier, larger produce.
The Eblings joined iDE and 11 other guests on a trip to Nepal and Bhutan where they saw how their support has enabled iDE to deliver transformative programming in Nepal.
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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