Fund for the Promotion of Innovation in Agriculture (i4Ag)
Title: Fund for the Promotion of Innovation in Agriculture (i4Ag) Commissioned by: Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ) Country: Global Overall term: 2020 to 2026
The full potential of agricultural production and processing has not yet been fully realised in many developing countries. Innovations are needed to fulfil the great potential of the agriculture and food sector to contribute to the sustainable development of rural areas. Such innovations should boost income and employment, improve food security and mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change and the consequences of inappropriate land use.
However, access to knowledge, financing tailored to target groups and a suitable political environment to successfully introduce innovations are often lacking. In many cases, innovations are also not fully developed or are insufficiently adapted to the local context. Women and young people in particular often have difficulty accessing innovations for structural and cultural reasons.
This situation is exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to additional challenges in the agriculture and food sector since March 2020. Innovations can make an important contribution here as well. However, despite their great potential, such innovations are not being sufficiently promoted and utilised.
Gender-sensitive and sustainable innovations for the agriculture and food sector are self-sustaining and used by the fund’s target group, such as smallholder farmers and food processors.
Multipliers such as international cooperation projects, companies, public organisations and research institutions apply lessons learned from innovation partnerships that have received support.
i4Ag is a fund that promotes innovations in the agriculture and food sector, focusing on the five key areas of mechanisation, digitalisation, renewable energy, research and extension and cooperation with the private sector. Innovation refers to interventions that change existing routines or introduce new ones. Examples include digital, technical, organisational, administrative or financial products, processes, services, technologies and business models. The fund casts a wide net in its search for innovations and is not restricted to a specific region, technology or value chain.
Innovations are identified, evaluated and selected through targeted networking or competitions. The goal is to initiate innovation partnerships with private and public organisations in order to pilot their innovations, develop them further in practice and adapt them to local contexts.
The project supports innovations with a positive impact on food security, income and employment and/or the climate and environment. It is important for women to play an active role in the design and implementation of innovations, contributing their perspectives and needs. To ensure that women benefit from the innovations, i4Ag develops a gender strategy for each innovation in cooperation with the partners.
The fund also develops sustainable business models with the partners to ensure that innovations are self-sustaining. This is because they can only have positive effects in the long term if they continue to be in demand and are further developed after support ends.
i4Ag is also dedicated to spreading successful innovations further and sharing lessons learned.