IFAD powers small-holder farmers across Africa with customized agricultural solutions via mobile phones

AFRICA – The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has partnered with Precision Agriculture for Development (PAD), a global non-profit organisation, to offer personalized agricultural advice to small-scale farmers through their mobile phones as a means to improve their incomes, food security and resilience to economic shocks caused by COVID-19.

Precision Agriculture for Development (PAD) harnesses technology, data science and behavioral economics to provide targeted information to empower farmers in developing countries to increase productivity, profitability, and environmental sustainability.

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The innovative initiative is targeting about 1.7 million small-scale farmers in Kenya, Nigeria and Pakistan.

Using mobile phone technology, farmers will receive low-cost, customized advice to improve on-farm practices, input utilization, pest and disease management, environmental sustainability and access to markets.

The initiative is one of 11 proposals to receive initial funding under IFAD’s Rural Poor Stimulus Facility (RPSF).

The RPSF aims to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the livelihoods and food security of rural poor people.

Funding for these first 11 initiatives, is US$11.2 million from the RPSF plus US$5.2 million in co-financing mainly from governments and implementing partners.

It will benefit an estimated 6.7 million small-scale farmers in developing countries who are adversely impacted by the economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among the proposals financed are two regionally focused initiatives in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa that will provide emergency livelihood support through local farmers’ organisations, and eight country-level initiatives in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Nepal, Nigeria, Palestine and Rwanda.

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The majority of these initiatives, which are embedded in national COVID-19 response strategies and will be implemented through IFAD project teams and other strategic partners to ensure fast delivery.

The activities that will be delivered include: providing seeds and fertiliser in time for the upcoming planting season; assisting with storage and market transport; supporting local banks to provide credit; and establishing digital platforms for information, training, banking and marketing services.

Working through existing project teams and IFAD country offices, the initiatives will draw on existing targeting data to identify and provide assistance to the most at-risk groups.

A second round of funding, which includes 22 initiatives and amounts to US$13.8 million, is expected by the end of August.

Thanks to generous contributions from key partners, additional rounds of funding will follow later in the year.

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