BANGKOK, May 25, 2016 — Today the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Winrock International launched an innovation challenge to develop technological solutions and regional partnerships for smallholder farmers in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Myanmar and Nepal. The challenge will be open to companies and organizations from South and Southeast Asia and will focus on expanding proven, commercially viable technologies into new Asian markets.
“Modern, low-cost technology is available that can help thousands of farmers find pathways out of poverty,” said Justin Finnegan, Deputy Assistant Administrator in USAID’s Bureau for Food Security at the inaugural Asia Regional Agricultural Innovation Summit in Bangkok. “But there are many barriers to its adoption and scaling, which USAID is working hard to address.”
The innovation challenge aims to reduce those barriers. “While social enterprises throughout South and Southeast Asia have developed proven technologies to improve small-scale agriculture production, these innovators need help to expand their products to new markets,” said Todd Sorenson, Acting Director of the USAID Regional Development Mission for Asia.
Applications, which will be received on a rolling basis over the next several years, will be judged on their potential impact, sustainability and scale. Special emphasis will be placed on technologies that improve women’s opportunities in agriculture, support adaptation to climate change and encourage youth engagement in agriculture. Winning applicants will receive business services, mentoring and small grants enabling them to expand into new markets through the $15-million Feed the Future Asia Innovative Farmers Activity funded by USAID and implemented by Winrock International. Over the next five years, the Activity intends to help more than 200 private enterprises, organizations and associations.
“We plan to work closely with the local business community, thought leaders and the public sector to develop partnerships to further accelerate the adoption of technology by smallholder farmers,” said Rob Turner, director of the Feed the Future Asia Innovative Farmers Activity.
This week’s summit in Bangkok brings together investors, social entrepreneurs and food security experts from across South and Southeast Asia to identify and prioritize common regional constraints faced by smallholder farmers. The innovation challenge will focus on identifying specific solutions to these constraints.
“As an Indonesian business in the aquaculture industry, we are very interested in this Innovation Challenge and hope USAID and Winrock can help us expand our smart fish feeder product to benefit the farmers in Bangladesh and other countries across Asia,” said Gibran Huzaifah, the CEO of E-Fishery based in Bandung, Indonesia.
For more information, interested applicants can visit the innovation challenge website at https://tech4farmerschallenge.wordpress.com/ or email the project’s outreach officer, Tarinee Youkhaw. Innovations developed by or designed for youth and women farmers are of particular interest.
About Feed the Future
Feed the Future is the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative. With a focus on smallholder farmers, particularly women, Feed the Future supports partner countries in developing their agriculture sectors to spur economic growth and trade that increase incomes and reduce hunger, poverty and undernutrition. For more information, visit www.feedthefuture.gov.
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