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Innovation

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

Geospatial tools and applications for climate investments

November 2021
This catalogue features innovative geospatial tools and real life case studies from IFAD’s operations, to give a flavour of how and where IFAD uses such technology.

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.

Related events

Related events

Jobs, innovation and rural value chains in the context of climate transition: Bridging the gap between research and policy

June 2022 - EVENT
A high-level forum to bring forth research of the highest academic standards, in collaboration with Italian universities, international academic associations, and international organizations involved in economic and rural development policies.

Countdown to the SDGs: Employing results, evidence and targeted investments

October 2021 - EVENT
Join IFAD, the Asian Development Bank, ENEL Green Power, FAO, UNDP and others for a dialogue about how tracking results and targeted impact investing can drive the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Related news

Related news

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.

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.

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

In Turkey, strawberry farms bring opportunities for rural youth

December 2021 - STORY
Youth who grew up in the Taurus Mountains of Turkey have traditionally moved to the big cities to pursue their careers. But recently, thanks to an IFAD-supported project, the region’s farmers have begun growing strawberries. Highland strawberries are proving quite popular, driving the growth of a new regional value chain – and bringing the region’s youth back to the countryside to take part.

Highlights from COP26 – Friday 12 November 2021

November 2021 - STORY
The end of COP26 is fast approaching, and we’re still waiting for a final agreement. However, based on the draft texts that have been released, it’s clear there’s still a risk of gaps between long-term targets and short-term action.

Public-private partnerships accelerate climate change adaptation in Viet Nam

November 2021 - STORY
In recent years, saline intrusion – the encroachment of seawater into fresh water sources – has become a serious threat to small-scale farmers in Viet Nam’s Mekong Delta. Thanks to a public-private partnership, a local technology company was able to collaborate with an IFAD-supported project to create a lasting solution.

Related blogs

Related blogs

Nutrition-sensitive agriculture: The cornerstone of a healthier world

December 2021 - BLOG
It might seem counter-intuitive to suggest that agriculture should become more nutrition-sensitive – but many small-scale producers worldwide are at risk of food and nutrition insecurity. We’re committing to more ambitious goals for integrating nutrition into our investments and project activities.

In China, youth are at the forefront of transforming food systems

December 2021 - BLOG
Young people are the future of the world’s food systems, and they should therefore have a say in how the food systems of tomorrow should be configured. In China, youth have long been leading efforts to promote organic farming and sustainable consumption – and now, they’re beginning to act for change.

Why COP26 matters for the world’s rural dwellers: A conversation with Jo Puri

October 2021 - BLOG
In early November, top experts from around the world will meet in Glasgow for COP26, the biggest climate change conference since the Paris Accords. We caught up with climate scientist and IFAD Associate Vice-President Dr Jo Puri to ask her what COP26 is all about and what she hopes will emerge from it.

Innovation contact

Contact information

innovation@ifad.org