"Scaling" is a hot topic in agricultural development. Donors, implementing organizations, developing country partners, and the private sector alike are exploring new models for bringing agricultural technology innovations to scale through public-private partnerships, in order to benefit greater numbers of farmers and entrepreneurs. The October Ag Sector Council webinar brought together three experts to discuss scaling models and applications.
The USAID-funded Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation Program is dedicated to increasing smallholders access to technologies through commercialization. This work is done through partnering with the private sector to bring agricultural technologies from labs to markets to farms. To lead off the webinar, the program's director, Bob Rabatsky, discussed commercialization models for scaling technologies to smallholder farmers. Next, Mike Gavin of PortaScience, Inc. discussed his company's work bringing their technology to Rwanda through a Partnering for Innovation technology support sub-award. PortaScience is introducing and selling UdderCheck, a mastitis detection dip stick that sells for $0.30 and requires no refrigeration, to dairy farmers in Rwanda.
The Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture and USAID this year funded a study looking at the practical issues in scaling agricultural technologies in rural markets for adoption by poor households. The study focused on scaling seed systems in sub-Saharan Africa, but has been written to highlight issues common to scaling challenges in a wide variety of agricultural technologies. The final study will be released the first week of December, but interim work including Crowd-Sourced Lessons About Scaling Seed Systems and a number of vignettes on scaling seed can be found online at AgPartnerXChange. To round out the webinar, the study lead, Sara Boettiger, presented the major themes of the work and described processes that might improve our ability to plan for scaling agricultural technologies.
Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation
Syngenta Foundation, UC Berkeley