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Innovating Agriculture Into the Future – Episode 27

In our end-of-year episode, we’re focusing on all things innovative in the world of agriculture. We hear from agro-preneurs in Australia, Africa and Asia who are using cutting-edge technologies and exploring new solutions to common problems.

Nurture.farm describes their platform designed to help farmers achieve sustainability; Eden Green Technology shows us how to grow more food with less land, water and energy; and Hello Tractor is here to meet your farming equipment needs. And we visit the Fruit Salad Tree in Australia, which can grow up to six different kinds of fruit.

We also hear from IFAD’s own climate scientist and Associate Vice-President Jo Puri and get her take on climate conflicts. And to start the episode, we have the speech delivered by Idris and Sabrina Elba, IFAD’s Goodwill Ambassadors, at COP26 in Glasgow.


Episode contents


Idris and Sabrina Elba at COP26

Idris and Sabrina Elba

This year, fixing our food systems and mitigating and adapting to climate change have been the big topics of discussion in agriculture and rural development circles. These discussions are especially timely for small-scale farmers in developing countries.

Idris and Sabrina Elba, IFAD’s Goodwill Ambassadors, were out in force representing these farmers at the recent COP26 summit in Glasgow. In their address to world leaders, they called for adequate funding to help farmers adapt now. We’ve got their speech here.


Tackling inequalities in the modernization of farming, with Dhruv Sawhney

Dhruv Sawhney, COO of nurture.farm

With increased global attention on the need to make agriculture more sustainable, the race is on to mechanize, automate, and digitize farming practices – but at the current pace and scope of modernization, many farmers don’t have the resources to keep up.

Nurture.farm is an online platform designed to break down the accessibility barrier for small-scale growers. It provides the tools, biological solutions, credit, market access, and training needed to farm more sustainably and profitably, and with less environmental impact.

We spoke with Dhruv Sawhney, COO of nurture.farm, to find out what makes their platform stand out from the rest.


Eddy Badrina on innovations in vertical farming

Eddy Badrina, CEO of Eden Green Technology

Eden Green’s version of vertical farming is a bit different than the rest.

This Texas-based company is pioneering a new technique that helps people around the world sustainably grow large amounts of food, using less land, water, and electricity.

Eddy Badrina, CEO of Eden Green Technology, is passionate about ensuring food security for all. He was keen to tell us all about his company’s innovations and how even a small plot of land – just over half a hectare – can change a community.


Fruit Salad Trees: A new twist on tree grafting

Kerry West, CEO of Fruit Salad Trees

Although the name may sound fantastical, Fruit Salad Trees are very real. These trees can grow up to six different types of fruit on the same tree at the same time.

This is possible thanks to the ancient technique of tree grafting, in which the tissue of one plant is added to another, then attached to a previously established root. Most recently, thanks to an innovative technique, multi-graft plants like the Fruit Salad Tree are now possible.

We spoke with Kerry West, CEO of the Fruit Salad Tree Company, to find out how they do it.


Hello Tractor revolutionizes crop farming

Folu Okunade, COO of Hello Tractor

Tractors are an indispensable part of crop farming, yet many small-scale farmers don’t have access to one of their own. Now, a new platform called Hello Tractor is changing the way these farmers do business.

Hello Tractor has been called “the Uber of agriculture.” Through the platform, tractor owners can connect directly with farmers who need their services. Farmers pay only for what they need in terms of tractor use – at a fraction of the cost of manual labour. After getting its start in Nigeria in 2015, Hello Tractor is now operating in 13 countries in Africa and 3 in Asia, as well as Guatemala and Jamaica.

We spoke with Folu Okunade, COO of Hello Tractor, to learn more about how the platform works and what they hope to accomplish next.


IFAD’s Jo Puri on the cascading effects of climate change

Jo Puri, Associate Vice-President for IFAD

Climate change has already begun to disrupt the ways farmers work, cutting them off from traditional methods and causing new problems to arise.

When these changes make farmers’ original lands inhospitable – if, for example, rainfall patterns have drastically shifted – they often have to move in search of more fertile soil. Notably, this can generate conflicts among different groups of farmers.

IFAD’s Jo Puri discussed this and more in a recent episode of the podcast E Co. Sound Bites. We’ve got her full interview here.

Summing Up

Thanks to our producer Francesco Manetti and everyone else who’s worked on this programme.

But most of all, thanks to you for listening to this episode of Farms. Food. Future, brought to you by the International Fund for Agricultural Development.Remember, we want to hear from you – what you think about our stories and the issues discussed, and who you want us to be talking to – so please get in touch at podcasts@ifad.org.

Send us your voice or text messages to that address and we’ll be happy to play you out in the next show.

Don’t forget to subscribe to this podcast via your favourite podcast platform – and please rate us!

We’ll be back at the end of January with more news fresh from the farm. Once again, we’ll be trying to be Good for You, Good for the Planet and Good for the Farmers.