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Linking matching grants with loans: Experiences and lessons learned from Ghana

September 2014
Matching grants (MGs) are used increasingly by multilateral and bilateral institutions, including the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Bank, to cofinance productive assets and investments. Although confined initially to investments with clear public good characteristics, their use has spread. They finance a broad array of assets and productivity-enhancing technologies for groups, companies and individuals, benefiting the private sector directly with clear private goods characteristics. MGs are used as a short-term financing instrument to promote diffusion of technologies and enable target groups to carry out productivity-enhancing investments, compensating for the limited availability and high costs of term finance. At times, MGs incorporate a “crowding in” mechanism to attract financiers by sharing the risks and increasing the effective collateral value of the asset being financed. They are also used to support innovations that, by their nature, are more risky and less likely to attract loan finance. Despite their appeal as a relatively simple instrument to address access to finance constraints in the short run, there are several risks, which can limit their effectiveness and impact. When poorly designed and poorly implemented, MGs can distort and crowd out private and public investments.

A market approach to drip irrigation

August 2014
Between 2009 and 2012, the IFAD-supported Scaling up Micro-irrigation Systems (SCAMPIS) project developed a market approach for the dissemination of locally adapted drip irrigation kits. The approach identifies the technology that is best suited to the local context and appropriate for the most vulnerable rural inhabitants. It then builds a sustainable local supply chain for the irrigation equipment that makes the technology affordable and available, not just for the duration of the project but in the long term. In just three years, the pilot project was able to dramatically change the lives of 30,000 farmers and their families (in total, around 150,000 poor rural people) on three continents.

IFADs approach in Small Island Developing States: A global response to island voices for food security

August 2014
This paper outlines IFAD’s strategic approach to enhancing food security and promoting sustainable smallholder agriculture development in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the context of exacerbated impacts of climate change and persistent challenges to market access. A renewed approach will provide an opportunity for increasing results and impacts from agriculture and fisheries, reducing the high transaction costs of project delivery in SIDS, adjusting to an ever-changing development environment and – most of all – avoiding the overlooking of SIDS’ persistent fragility and the risk that they are cut off from development assistance.

FAO-IFAD Using livelihood to map best investments in water

August 2014
In 2005, IFAD and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) formed a partnership to promote a better understanding of the links between rural poverty, livelihoods and water access. Together they developed an approach to map information relating to poverty, livelihood activities and water availability across sub-Saharan Africa. By correlating this information, they have been able to substantiate context-specific proposals for water investments.

Family farming in Latin America - A new comparative analysis

July 2014
The results of the studies highlighted the importance of agriculture as an economic activity to the reproduction of such units all over the continent, and showed that specialized family farmers are the largest group in relation to the total. Moreover, we verified the function of rural residency and the combination of activities and income sources as an important feature of all the countries studied.

Youth and agriculture: Key challenges and concrete solutions

July 2014
This publication shows how tailor-made educational programmes (such as the Junior Farmer Field and Life Schools approach) can provide rural youth with the skills and insights needed to engage in farming and adopt environmentally friendly production methods.

Guidelines for Integrating Climate Change Adaptation into Fisheries and Aquaculture Projects

June 2014
These Guidelines are the result of an extensive process of consultation and a concerted effort that brought together different fisheries and climate change experts in different moments in time. Substantive inputs were provided by a range of stakeholders, including smallholder farmers, aquaculturists, academics, personnel from ministries of agriculture and environment, and development cooperation partners.

Participatory Impact Assessment and Learning Approach (PIALA) - Results and reflections from the impact evaluation of RTIMP in Viet Nam

June 2014
Improved Learning Initiative for the design of a Participatory Impact Assessment & Learning Approach (PIALA) in Viet Nam.

Serving Smallholder Farmers: Recent Developments in Digital Finance

June 2014
This Focus Note introduces some recent developments in this rapidly changing space. The featured case studies (i) identify traditional pain points in serving smallholder farmers (such as the cost and risk of making payments to farmers and delivering subsidized credit), (ii) discuss how DFS are being used to overcome these pain points, and (iii) highlight some initial obstacles and successes.

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