When it comes to agriculture and rural livelihoods, I think the most impactful innovative models have to do with extension and best practice dissemination. They are essential to closing the yield gap. By increasing production smallholder farmers can increase their profits, have more disposable income, and invest in better inputs and technologies. This trickle-down effect can significantly improve livelihoods for families and especially for women and children. Once smallholders become more productive, women farmers can spend less time working the fields or bringing water and have more time to diversify their activities.
ICT is a good vehicle for fast information dissemination. Through the use of smartphones farmers can have access to market information, pricing as well as gain the tools to better manage inputs (seeds, fertilizer, irrigation, crop protection).
In many LDCs and developing countries, this access depends on new distribution models. One innovation that facilitates distribution to farmers in remote areas is Deep Rural Distribution.
In addition to market access, and crop insurance, farmers also need price guarantees. Commodity exchanges play an important part in making farmers’ livelihoods more resilient to price shocks as they foster price guarantees. Farmers can better plan and organize themselves when they know they can count on a fair price for their crops.