The prize is seeking tools and approaches that source, analyze and translate data into actionable, timely and context-specific information for smallholder farmers to improve value from agricultural productivity.
There is a growing global concern about the challenges agricultural and food production need to overcome in the next few decades. By 2050, the world’s population is expected to reach 9 billion–with over a billion at risk of hunger–and arable land is becoming increasingly scarce. Additionally, developing countries suffer the most from a lack of food security and low household incomes.
For these reasons, one of the priorities under the Sustainable Development Goals is to achieve food security and improve livelihoods by raising smallholder farmers’ productivity.
Digital technologies have upended business models and expanded the frontiers of information access in the developing world. Increasingly available digital technologies including sensors, geospatial imagery, mobile financial services, and data analytics can be leveraged to make agriculture more precise, productive, resilient, and profitable. However, too often that data and analysis remains in research intuitions and on computer servers rather than reaching farmers or those who work with them.
Feed the Future believes in helping farmers extract maximum value from local agricultural production by increasing their access to the data and information they need to make more effective farming decisions. Democratizing access to data and information can drive the transformation of commercially-driven agriculture in targeted regions. As a result, the prize aims to support solutions for farmers and value chain actors to make effective choices to enhance their productivity, on-the-ground decision-making, and market planning.
Data-driven agriculture is not a new concept, yet the potential of these techniques and approaches has not yet come to fruition in less developed economies. For this reason, the competition will create the opportunity to source potentially relevant innovations from anywhere in the world and link them to a local context with specific opportunities and challenges.
Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world. Agriculture contributes 34% of the national GDP and 70% of the population works in the sector. The country is ranked 25th in biodiversity, Nepal has the potential to be a food surplus country if smart, sustainable intensification that includes smallholder farmers can be realized.