Innovation for Sustainable Agriculture
Technology and innovation are increasingly playing an important role in addressing the complex development challenges surrounding agri-food systems globally—from poverty and inequality, climate change, biodiversity loss, and food loss and waste. However, the gains of technological innovation in the agri-food sector remain largely concentrated in the Global North.
We launched Cultiv@te in 2019, with generous support from Singapore’s Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment, and with the realisation that meaningful transformation of agri-food systems will require developing countries having access to knowledge, technology, and resources to foster innovation locally.
Cultiv@te aimed to bring innovation and technology where it is most needed, combining globally leading innovation with local knowledge, expertise, and market insights. Most importantly, the initiative aimed to empower UNDP’s partners at the national and local levels—with a special emphasis on leveraging South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SSTC)—to explore, identify, test, and scale technological innovations.
Cultiv@te at a Glance
from teams around the world, representing 114 nationalities
across Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America
across 3 categories: Urban Agriculture; Rainfed Agriculture; and Livestock farming and Aquaculture
with public- and private sector organisations
Following a global call for applications, we identified 31 promising solutions with potential for wide scale impact across areas of rainfed agriculture, urban agriculture, and livestock farming and aquaculture. These ranged from cutting edge agri-biotechnological solutions to boost yields and pest resilience, urban farming systems to enhance urban food security, digital platforms for raise productivity of smallholder farmers, and a variety of Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
Through 2020 and 2021, we provided mentorship and catalytic funding to a few of the most promising Cultiv@te Finalists, supporting them in piloting/prototyping of their proposed solutions, and forging value-driven multi-stakeholder partnerships at the national level along the way. Cultiv@te allowed us to explore and test innovative solutions for sustainable agriculture, generating valuable insights—from the importance of human-centred design to effective stakeholder engagement strategies.
‘Fostering Agritech Innovation’ captures some of our key learnings from implementing the initiative over 2020-21, summarising the key trends in the use of technology for advancing sustainable agriculture, and capturing key learnings with regard to ‘what works’ in catalysing innovation in the agri-food sector.