The International Forum on Innovation in Agri-Food Systems to achieve SDGs, postponed due to the current COVID-19 spread, was intended to showcase agricultural innovation success stories in the Near East and North Africa (NENA) region and elsewhere through an Innovation Fair and various technical sessions and panels.
The forum defined agricultural innovation as "the process whereby individuals or organizations bring new or existing products, processes or ways of organization into use for the first time in a specific context in order to increase effectiveness, competitiveness, resilience to shocks or environmental sustainability and thereby contribute to food security and nutrition, economic development or sustainable natural resource management”.
Out of 118 proposals, the selected top 20 stories represents 17 countries out of which are 8 from outside the NENA region with 8 success stories. The selection looked if the innovation was inspirational, had substantial impacts, was used and of relevance to smallholder production systems.
Following Zoominar-II of the series which presented a selected set of innovative success stories existing in the NENA region, as significant examples of the role that innovation and digital solutions could play in supporting smallholder farmers cope with the current and predicted impacts of COVID-19 in the NENA region, FAO held Zoominar III on 7th May to appreciate and present some of the success stories outside the NENA region that could serve equally as important models on the role of digital technology in supporting farmers cope with the immense impacts of COVID-19.
Innovation success stories:
- ACADES (Malawi) is a very effective model of engaging youth in agriculture that has managed to develop a considerable number of participants (young farmers). In addition, ACADES developed a quick response to COVID-19 and has been supporting its members to cope with the crises (attached an email “newsletter” of such achievements).
- Apollo Agriculture (Kenya) is a well-respected company that helps small-scale farmers maximize their profits through offering everything a farmer needs a. Financing: e.g. credit profiles for unbanked small-scale farmers; b. Farm inputs and advice: customized packages of seed, fertilizer and extension services; c. Insurance on credit; d. and market access (when possible).
- CIMMYT-Small Scale Mechanization Hire Service (Ethiopia) is an efficient machinery leasing scheme for small-scale agricultural mechanization in collaboration with several microfinance institutions. The model provides hiring services of 2-wheel tractor based agricultural mechanization for farmers.
- FarmDrive (Kenya) is a very successful platform that provides alternative credit scoring for Smallholder Farmers. FarmDrive uses mobile phones, alternative data, and machine learning to close the critical data gap that prevents financial institutions from lending to creditworthy smallholder farmers. its alternative credit risk assessment model is providing financial institutions with an agriculturally relevant and data-driven model to assess risk and develop loans.
- Farm2table (Zimbabwe) is a competent initiative linking farmers to service providers and consumers using ICTs. Farm2Table uses digital technology, the internet and mobile phones to link producers and consumers of agriculture commodities. It also links them to other actors in the agriculture commodities value chain such as agro-processors and transporters. Consumers and agro-processors access relevant information – such as the prices and quantities of farm produce – on the Farm2Table website.
- Jam4Colors (Pakistan) is a helpful approach developed by FAO as part of the Farmer Field Schools tool. The approach uses a color-based learning model (a universally understood color system) named “Jam’s 4 colors - Visual analytical universal education learning model (VALUE everyone)” designed for smallholder farmers to replace the textual-numeric analytical process of the Agro-ecosystem analysis (AESA). *jam4colors is not a digital agricultural tool nevertheless it would be interesting to see if they have developed any digital tools to be used in FFS.
The Zoominar addressed the following questions:
- What are the actual opportunities and challenges for your innovation under the COVID-19 circumstances?
- How did/would your initiative respond to this crisis?
- How could this innovation help farmers and/or consumers face its disruptive impacts?
- What are the main aspects for scalability and replication in other countries (especially in the NENA region)?
- What role could FAO and partners play to facilitate further promotion and implementation of this innovation in the NENA region?
- 14 May 2020. Accelerating Digital Extension Advisory Services (DEAS) in Post COVID Context
- 21 mai 2020 12:00 PM
- 28 mai 2020 12:00 PM
- 4 juin 2020 12:00 PM
- 11 juin 2020 12:00 PM
- 18 juin 2020 12:00 PM
- 25 juin 2020 12:00 PM
- Find here the Zoominar Recording and Presentations of the first Zoominar I: How can digital innovation help smallholder farmers cope with COVID-19 impact in the NENA region? Held on the 16th and repeated on the 23rd April.
- And the Zoominar Recording and Presentations of the Zoominar II session on Innovative success stories in the NENA region: Tool to support smallholders under COVID-19 disruptive impact? Held on 30th April. FAO asked the audience to vote for the best three and we had the results as follows: COSUMAR (Morocco), AHMINI (Tunisia) and SHEP (Egypt and Palestine).