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Scaling up: Expanding the impact of food security and nutrition innovations

October 6, 2016

IDRC invests in applied research projects to develop and test innovative food security and nutrition solutions. Three goals guide this approach:

  • To increase food production
  • To raise incomes for farming families
  • To improve nutrition across the Global South

Together with its partners, IDRC is scaling up proven food security and nutrition solutions to benefit millions of people. These solutions are products, technologies, methods, and practices with the potential to improve food availability, access, and use. Proven solutions include animal vaccines, climate-resilient agricultural practices, improved seeds, and post-harvest technologies, among others. IDRC supports research to deploy and facilitate the adoption of over 60 such solutions.

Strengthening gender empowerment

Women and girls make up nearly half of the agricultural labour force in many developing countries, yet account for more than 60% of the world's undernourished. The Agriculture and Food Security program builds knowledge on gender-sensitive research approaches and supports sustainable food security practices for women smallholders. Many of the solutions tested focus specifically on reducing women’s workloads, or improving family diets and incomes.

Some recent success stories

Building a successful fishing and aquaculture sector in Bolivia

Women and men fishers are adopting sustainable practices for aquaculture and fisheries in the Bolivian Amazon. Researchers collaborated with local fishers, financing institutions, and policymakers to craft regulations, increase production sustainably, and boost the incomes of thousands of men and women through the fish value chain.

Reducing barriers to millet production and consumption in India

Local commercial production of small millet de-hullers is making this post-harvest machinery accessible for use in small millet producing regions of India. Researchers are testing incubator, licensing, and merchandising approaches to make the machine more widely available. With the use of a de-huller, women reduce the amount of time they typically spend on this process by 70-90%.

Producing more yogurt in Africa with freeze-dried bacteria

In rural Kenya and Uganda, a pre-mix for preparing yogurt in community-based kitchens is key to increasing small-scale yogurt production. Hubs distribute the pre-mix and collect yogurt prepared by women entrepreneurs. This distribution network is increasing the local production and consumption of nutritious fermented foods.

“Farm Shop” brings supplies, knowledge, and profits to Kenyan farmers

Farm Shop is a Kenyan social franchise business that ensures farmers have timely access to the seed, fertilizers, and tools they need to double or triple yields. The social business is expanding from the 55 franchises currently serving 25,000 customers in Kenya to 150 franchises that will benefit 375,000 smallholder farmers by 2018.

Pre-cooked beans for improving food and income security in Kenya and Uganda

Pre-cooked beans are an affordable and fast-cooking new product that is boosting the consumption of nutritious pulses. Increased demand for pre-cooked beans is creating a more lucrative market for 7,500 bean farmers and creating jobs for women, men, and youth in processing and distribution.

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