Tech innovations for small-holder farmers

By Jenny Lei Ravelo 15 November 2012

Farm equipment. The U.S. Agency for International Development and Fintrac have launched the Partnering for Innovation program, which seeks tech innovations to help boost small-holder farmers’ productivity. Photo by: Lee Bailey

Have a particular invention in mind that can boost small-holder farmers’ productivity and save on labor?

The U.S. Agency for International Development and Fintrac, a U.S.-based consulting company focused on developing agricultural solutions, launched the Partnering for Innovation program Wednesday (Nov. 14). It is the latest program under the United States’ Feed the Future initiative, which puts particular emphasis on small-holder farmers in addressing global hunger and food insecurity.

The program seeks to engage the private sector, researchers and development institutions, universities, scientists, and entrepreneurs in developing technologies small-holder farmers can use to increase their income and food production. Examples include seed varieties, water harvesting systems and farm tools.

Innovations should be simple, cost-effective and “show the most potential for smallholder adoption and replication, particularly by women,” according to the program page.

The program will provide short-listed applicants grants for product testing and demonstration as well as product commercialization. The program will also provide analytical and technical advisory services. Support will be given to prototyped and field-tested technologies but that require further testing. The program could also provide support to companies with such technologies.

Expressions of Interest are due on Jan. 31, 2013.

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About the author

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Jenny Lei Ravelo@JennyLeiRavelo

Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex senior reporter based in Manila. Since 2011, she has covered a wide range of development and humanitarian aid issues, from leadership and policy changes at DfID to the logistical and security impediments faced by international and local aid responders in disaster-prone and conflict-affected countries in Africa and Asia. Her interests include global health and the analysis of aid challenges and trends in sub-Saharan Africa.

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