Accelerating high-impact innovations for climate resilience and agricultural productivity
As accelerators, we are driven by the stark challenges that smallholder farmers face in cultivating crops under increasingly uncertain and difficult conditions. We are also propelled by optimism. We know that we can simplify access to public- and private-sector research and development for the greatest impact.
This is agricultural innovation striving to ensure resilience and to account for the many factors that affect the health and wellbeing of farmers and their communities.
Creating impact-focused, inclusive partnerships for product development, value creation, and sharing
Partnerships are essential to our work. Our collaborations will forge catalytic new relationships that bridge sectors and markets to close gaps between crop science discovery and the priorities of smallholder farmers.
These alliances will enable and incentivize co-development, using cutting-edge science and technology to improve outcomes for smallholder farmers.
Building an enabling environment that promotes equitable access and benefits for smallholder farmers
Without equitable access to effective tools, products, and practices, our efforts are meaningless. Achieving an enabling environment that empowers smallholder farmers will be a collaborative effort shaped by the insights of our local partners and farmers themselves into how climate change, poverty, and gender inequality are affecting lives and livelihoods.
PRIORITY: BEST PRACTICES
Cultivating world-class best practices for technology development and advancement
Our mission commits us to world-class best practices in everything we do. The stakes are just too high, the landscapes too complex, to warrant anything less. We will continuously improve and learn from insights brought by our diversity of stakeholders, partners, and the communities we serve.
Our science partners take plant research to the cutting edge. The cumulative impact of their work — including breakthroughs in photosynthesis, nitrogen fixation, and carbohydrate storage — has the potential to sustainably transform crop productivity and adaptive capacity to climate stress for smallholder farmers.
Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency (RIPE) is an international effort to harvest more from the untapped potential of photosynthesis, the natural process all plants use to convert sunlight into energy and yield.
Engineering Nitrogen Symbiosis for Africa (ENSA) aims to increase yield for smallholder farmers in absence of chemical inputs by tapping the potential of naturally occurring biological nitrogen fixation.
The Cassava Source-Sink Project (CASS) focuses on improving edible tuberous root crops like cassava, a smallholder staple that has yet to significantly benefit from major advances in plant science.
Smallholder farmers are critical to feeding the people of Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia
We focus our efforts in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, geographies where smallholder farmers make an essential contribution under increasingly challenging conditions — affected by climate change, underserved by advancements in agricultural technology for decades, and challenged to adapt to changing environmental conditions, increasing demand, and evolving consumer preferences.
Smallholder farmers play a crucial role in national, regional, and global food systems and economies. The International Fund for Agricultural Development estimates there are approximately 500 million smallholder farms worldwide, and that “more than two billion people depend on them for their livelihoods.” Altogether, these farms produce as much as 35% of Sub-Saharan Africa’s and South Asia’s food supplies.
Empowering smallholder farmers is a path to alleviating extreme poverty in the rural areas of developing countries: geographies where approximately 45% of the global population lives.
Sources: IFAD 2011, “Smallholders Can Feed the World”; IFAD 2021, “Why Rural People?”; Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser 2021, “Farm Size.”