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Globalization, climate change, environmental degradation, migrations, the spread of communicable diseases and conflict are just some examples of evolving challenges and opportunities confronting rural poor women and men. Development practitioners constantly face new challenges and many good practices may quickly become obsolete. Making a positive and lasting impact on rural poverty requires the capacity both to implement tried and tested practices and to respond to new challenges and opportunities as they emerge. In other words, it requires the ability to innovate.

The complexity and diversity of rural poverty call for new, better solutions. Despite global progress towards the SDGs, many countries and regions are lagging behind, and social and economic inequalities are growing almost everywhere. This situation calls for new approaches to eradicating rural poverty and a better understanding of its challenges as seen by the rural poor.

Achieving one’s goals better

IFAD defines innovation as a process that adds value or solves a problem in new ways. If possible, the product, idea or approach should also be new to its context, useful and cost-effective in relation to a goal, and able to “stick” after pilot testing.

Innovation can take many forms and be used in many ways across IFAD and its projects. Innovative solutions can provide both small-scale incremental improvements and large-scale transformations. Innovation is not necessarily related to technology, nor does it have to be something entirely new or developed by IFAD alone.

For IFAD, the most important innovations are those that impact rural poor people directly: changes to the way smallholders and other rural poor people invest, produce and market their products; manage their assets; get organized, communicate and interact with their partners; and influence policies and institutions.

Related publications

Related publications

Digital Agriculture in Asia and the Pacific region: A synthesis of ongoing work

May 2021
While the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and digital tools has been increasing steadily across large swathes of rural Asia during the past two decades, the ongoing COVID-19 crisis has imparted a sense of urgency in terms of accelerating this trend.

Tunisia: Detecting change with remote sensing

January 2021
This case study presents an analysis undertaken for the IFAD-funded Agropastoral Value Chains Project in the Governorate of Médenine, Tunisia.

Innovation Catalogue

November 2020
The Innovation Catalogue showcases a set of 23 solutions to challenges faced by small-scale producers in East and Southern Africa.

Related events

Related events

Geospatial technologies for land recordation

September 2021 - EVENT
FAO and IFAD webinar series of GeoTech4Tenure.

Digital agriculture in Asia and the Pacific: Strategies for donor impact

July 2021 - EVENT
This webinar will launch a new report by Grow Asia, commissioned by IFAD, which illustrates how digital technologies are reshaping agriculture in the region.

High level virtual dialogue - Feeding Africa: leadership to scale up successful innovation

April 2021 - EVENT
This high-level dialogue will identify ways to expand activities, financing and partnerships to further leverage technology and innovation for transformation of agriculture in Africa.

Related news

Related news

Third round of National Call for Proposals (Morocco): Supporting remittances in times of crisis in Africa

July 2021 - NEWS
The Financing Facility for Remittances (FFR) of IFAD is pleased to announce the third round of National Calls for Proposals (Morocco) 2021: supporting remittances in times of crisis in Africa.

2021 Agrobiodiversity Innovation Challenge

August 2021 - NEWS
Innovators who aim to mainstream agrobiodiversity solutions into the agri-food sector are welcome to submit applications to the Agrobiodiversity Innovation Challenge.

Second round of National Calls for Proposals (Kenya and Uganda): Supporting remittances in times of crisis in Africa

April 2021 - NEWS
The Financing Facility for Remittances of IFAD is pleased to announce the second round of National Calls for Proposals (Kenya, Uganda) 2021: supporting remittances in times of crisis in Africa.

Related stories

Related stories

IFAD’s Rural Development Report 2021

September 2021 - STORY
Our food systems are failing us. From the climate, to the environment, to nutrition, to human health and well-being, they are not delivering the outcomes we all need. IFAD’s Rural Development Report 2021 describes the systemic issues that have led to the situation we are in, identifies priorities for transforming our food systems, and provides recommended actions to achieve meaningful change.

The Lare Milk Dealers find their niche

September 2021 - STORY
Milk processing is normally a profitable venture in Kenya’s Nakuru County, but the Lare Milk Dealers Youth Group struggled to enter the market at first. Thanks to trainings hosted by an IFAD-supported project and some innovative additions to their business model, they’re now thriving.

The Greenthumb Youth Group casts their nets

August 2021 - STORY
The Greenthumb Youth Group hadn’t had much luck with traditional farming. But thanks to a grant to set up an aquaponics venture – combining crop farming and fish farming – their success is making waves all along the value chain.

Related blogs

Related blogs

Preventing the next pandemic by integrating human, animal and environmental health

September 2021 - BLOG
The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clearer than ever that human health is not just a matter of providing people with medical care. To avoid future pandemics, we need to recognize that the well-being of people, animals, plants and ecosystems must be addressed as a dynamic whole.

Three ways IFAD can support digital agriculture in the Asia-Pacific region

September 2021 - BLOG
Farmers and agribusinesses across the Asia-Pacific region are increasingly making use of new digital technologies. IFAD and Grow Asia have recently released a report exploring how these technologies are reshaping the region’s agriculture and how IFAD’s investments can accelerate the adoption of these technologies.

Taking stock of IFAD’s digital agriculture efforts in the Asia-Pacific region

June 2021 - BLOG
Digital agriculture is an indispensable part of strengthening food systems. IFAD’s recent stocktake of our ICT interventions in the Asia-Pacific region has revealed over 50 active solutions and some critical gaps to address.

Innovation contact

Contact information

innovation@ifad.org