Vibrant commercial activity is key to prosperous and healthy communities. Winrock collaborates with businesses, governments and civil society leaders to establish the conditions that lead to sustained economic opportunity. Our expertise includes identifying markets for local products and analyzing value chains to look for ways to improve efficiency and collaboration. We also provide entrepreneurs with the knowledge and training they need to launch new companies or services, and hire employees.
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In rural Kenya, solar water pumps (SWPs) can help smallholder farmers save on fuel costs, increase acreage, and grow more than one crop a year. However, many farmers don’t know about these benefits or lack credit options to purchase their own SWPs. The USAID-funded Kenya Smallholder Solar Irrigation project (KSSI) works to accelerate commercial sales of SWPs to small farmers through demonstrations, product assessments, and technical assistance to SWP retailers and financial institutions.
Winrock has long recognized the threat posed by climate change. The American Carbon Registry (ACR), founded in 1996 and operated by Winrock, is dedicated to the belief that markets are the most effective tools to tackle climate change. As such, ACR has developed transparent and science-based methodologies to incentivize carbon reductions in agriculture, transportation and other industries. ACR is also a partner in assuring that California’s landmark Cap-and-Trade Program can manage, verify and credit carbon offsets effectively.
The Wallace Center supports entrepreneurs and communities as they build a new, 21st century food system that is healthier for people, the environment and the economy. The demand for locally produced food is strong, growing and often outstrips the ability of small farmers to keep up. Through research, education and technical assistance, The Wallace Center at Winrock International helps groups of local producers (known as food hubs) work together to reach and serve large and sustainable markets.
Mitigating the impact of climate change requires tapping the power of markets. Winrock propels that approach by facilitating carbon offset trading and developing scientifically rigorous methodologies to measure and verify reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
Success in the global economy starts at the local level. Only when communities have access to capital, business knowledge, trained employees and other resources can companies launch and grow. This program establishes business development incubators across Arkansas that provides rural entrepreneurs the information and training they need to succeed.
Economic signals and the ingenuity of farmers are a powerful combination when it comes to reducing the environmental impact of agriculture. This program seeks to slash the amount of pollutants that enter the air and water as a result of the activities of Maryland farmers. This includes conducting research into credits farmers can earn and sell for reducing the environmental impact of their operations.
Puerto Rico depends on agriculture for food security and the health of its rural economies. But farming activities are also a major source of nitrous oxide emissions and water pollution caused by agricultural run-off. This program creates a pathway for farmers to participate in environmental markets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve water quality.
The great majority of Nigerian farmers cultivate plots of land smaller than two hectares (about five acres). The goal of this program, part of the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future initiative, is to boost food security and the income of small farmers by encouraging them to respond to consumer demand; instead of farmers selling what they produce, they need to produce what they can sell. This market-driven mentality is accelerated through training, access to financing, seeds and fertilizer and improved collaboration among those in the agricultural value chain.
As Georgia’s economy and industries grow, so too do the country’s projected greenhouse gas emissions. This is exacerbated by Georgia’s outdated and inefficient lighting, heating and energy systems. This program works with the national government, municipalities, businesses and others to develop and implement a national low emission development strategy. Among the tools being developed are municipal-level sustainable energy action plans, policies and guidelines that promote cleaner energy use, and the promotion of energy efficiency and green buildings to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions and improve its economic competitiveness.
The hilly city of Ilam in eastern Nepal is known both for its expansive tea production and its environmental consciousness. Those two themes come together in this public-private partnership to establish a new municipal waste management system. The project will establish a partnership between Ilam Municipality and the private sector that fuels commercially driven solid waste management. Funded by the European Union’s Switch Asia program and assisted by Winrock’s technical support, the sustainable solid waste management system includes small and medium-sized businesses that utilize compost for tea and vegetable cultivation and, as a result, create green jobs. Once successfully implemented, this innovate approach will be a model for Nepal’s other municipalities.
Consumer demand for sustainably grown local food is an unprecedented opportunity for family farmers. To take full advantage of the opportunity, small farmers are increasingly working with food hubs — enterprises that utilize cooperative aggregation, distribution and marketing strategies. The Wallace Center at Winrock International works to develop and strengthen food hubs that help small farmers gain entry into large markets they could never access on their own and build a strong culture of food safety.
The problem of deforestation in Brazil, particularly in the Amazon, is well-known. Nike is working with Winrock’s American Carbon Registry (ACR) on a unique way to raise funds to support reforestation. Through this initiative, Nike sells the carbon offsets issued to the company from ACR and donates the proceeds to protect and replant Brazilian forests.
The demand for palm oil has provided vital economic opportunities to many Indonesians. At the same time, the conversion of forests and drainage of peatland to create palm oil plantations is a leading source of Indonesia’s greenhouse gas emissions. Winrock has designed two scalable and replicable pilot projects that demonstrate the feasibility of improving the management of peatland areas currently devoted to palm oil production — an approach that would reduce emissions while increasing long-term sustainability.
Despite tremendous progress, farmers in Asia continue to grapple with two major challenges: food insecurity and poverty. By accelerating the transfer and adoption of innovative agricultural technologies, this USAID-funded Feed the Future program gives smallholders in South and Southeast Asia the knowledge and resources they need to grow more crops and earn more income.
The local food movement is improving the health, economies and environment of communities around the country. But for the benefits of healthy and sustainably grown food to reach more Americans, changes throughout the food chain are required. The Wallace Center’s National Good Food Network helps build regional food hubs that allow all participants in the supply chain to share the knowledge and resources necessary to meet the burgeoning demand for local food.
Rice is critical to the food security and economy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s capital city of Kinshasa. This USAID-funded program aims to improve the local rice supply chain through a variety of steps; these include increasing the productivity of small farmers, improving post-harvest processing and handling of rice and strengthening farmer associations and cooperatives.
Delighting consumers isn’t the only key to the success of regional and local food hubs; farmers also have to follow the USDA’s food safety regulations. Technology offers the possibility of an effective, efficient and hassle-free way to ensure compliance. The Wallace Center at Winrock International is working with growers, USDA and technology company FoodLogiQ to pilot and test an information technology solution that will streamline regulatory compliance and solidify consumer confidence in the safety of local and regional food.
Poverty and food insecurity are inextricably linked in Bangladesh. Particularly vulnerable are women, youth and those in areas of the country most likely to be impacted by climate change. The goal of this program is to improve nutrition and food security through training in entrepreneurship, improved production of high-value foods as well as reliable access to markets and important agricultural inputs.
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