Our Staff Writers and Editors offer insights on the latest news, events, interviews and other happenings from the development through enterprise and base of the pyramid universes
Wednesday, September 30, 2015 — No Region Specified

Grameen Foundation Selected as a Global Resilience Challenge Winner

Source: Press Release

Grameen Foundation was selected by The Global Resilience Partnership to implement transformative resilience solutions to problems facing smallholder coconut and cocoa farmers in Southeast Asia. A global leader in innovations to help the world's poor, Grameen Foundation was among eight global teams in the Global Resilience Challenge, a multi-stage design competition that received nearly 500 initial applications to address the most difficult resilience challenges. The foundation will now receive up to $1 million to implement its proposed solution in a way that can be scaled and adopted by others in the future.
Thursday, August 27, 2015 — No Region Specified

34 Indigenous Crops Promoting Health and Feeding the World

Source: Food Tank

Every day, plant species across the globe are disappearing. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports that approximately 75 percent of the Earth’s plant genetic resources are now extinct, and another third of plant biodiversity is expected to disappear by 2050. Up to 100,000 plant varieties are currently endangered worldwide.
Wednesday, August 26, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Reaching the Base of the Pyramid — and cutting carbon in the process

Source: GreenBiz

Ghana’s per capita income is $31 a week, according to the World Bank. But the roughly 500 female farmers who cultivate and harvest the leaves of moringa oleifera trees in the Tamale region of the West African nation earn five times that amount. That's because the women supply ground leaves of the nutrient-rich moringa plant to Oakland-based Kuli Kuli Foods, which markets and sells energy bars, teas and nutrition supplement powders made from the "superfood" at stores including Whole Foods.
Wednesday, August 26, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Smartphones help Tanzanian women secure land rights


In an effort to help Tanzania's authorities secure village land rights, USAID launched a project to map geographic and demographic data using mobile phone technology, with the aim of speeding up land rights registration.
Friday, August 14, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

New $35 million competition will enable greater financial inclusion for smallholder farmers in Africa

Source: Graphic Online

The MasterCard Foundation has announced the opening of a US$35 million Scaling Competition under its Fund for Rural Prosperity.
Friday, July 31, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Across Africa, a New Kind of Container Garden Is Changing Women’s Lives

Source: TakePart

Some people have the talent to take a simple idea and adapt it into a solution with far-reaching benefits. Take Veronica Kanyango of Zimbabwe, a grassroots organizer who works in home-based health care and hospice for people with HIV/AIDS. She’s managed to take a couple of bags full or dirt and turn them into an agrarian movement.
Wednesday, July 22, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Financing Agribusinesses in Africa: Mobile Money Shows More Viability

Source: Business Day

As a result of mobile money financing schemes, farming businesses, most of which are in rural areas in Africa are able to enjoy agritrade financing in form of loans, subsidies and free inputs facilitated mainly through phones. The main advantage of mobile money financing for agriculture is the elimination of cash handling by other individuals during the transfer of the money from the financing individual/organisation to the farmer or agribusiness operator. This reduces or eliminates corruption, outright theft or violence that could result when individuals have to carry cash around.
Friday, July 17, 2015 — Latin America

IDB Approves Climate-Smart Agriculture Fund

Source: Press Release

First-of-its-kind fund will support investments that increase rural livelihoods, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance biodiversity.
Wednesday, July 1, 2015 — No Region Specified

Bangladesh-Based Poverty Group Founder Wins World Food Prize

Source: The Associated Press

A man who created a nonprofit organization credited with helping more than 150 million people out of poverty was named the winner of the 2015 World Food Prize on Wednesday. Fazle Hasan Abed, of Bangladesh, created BRAC, the organization originally known as Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee, as a temporary relief organization to help the country recover from the 1970 typhoon that killed about 500,000 people and the subsequent war fought in 1971 to win independence from Pakistan. Bangladesh was once listed as the second poorest country in the world.
Monday, June 29, 2015 — South Asia

Burning Bridges by Building Bridges

Source: Philstar

Do you remember the old folk song that goes, “ako ang nagtanim at nagbayo at nagsaing, subalit nang maluto ay iba ang kumain” (I planted, pounded and cooked my own rice, but some other guy ate it)? It is not exactly the same story for the farmers, but it is certainly how they still feel.
Wednesday, June 24, 2015 — South Asia

Beyond Organic: Promoting Indonesia’s Indigenous Farming Cultures

Source: The Guardian

The first time Helianti Hilman visited the indigenous farmers of the West Java town of Garut, she was asked to remove her shoes before entering their fields. Her surprise grew when the farmers quizzed her on her mood – they didn’t want her upsetting the plants.
Friday, June 19, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

New App Helps Farmers in Kenya Find Climate-Smart Seeds

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

A new app launched in Kenya June 10 could help millions of farmers adapt to climate change by offering information on the best seeds for changing growing conditions, agriculture experts said.
Thursday, June 18, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

What Nestlé Forgot to Mention When Giving Its Reasons for Scaling Down in Africa

Source: Quartz

Five years ago, Nestlé announced its bold expansion plan for the sub-saharan Africa region: a $161 million investment to build three new factories and 13 new distribution facilities. The desired outcome? Increased sales for the food multinational and 750 new jobs for the 21 countries in the region. This plan was inspired by the much-talked about economic revival of Africa and its “rising middle class”.
Friday, June 12, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

In Ethiopia, crop insurance takes root but changes needed - experts

Source: Reuters

For Ethiopian farmers dealing with the worsening impacts of climate change, small-scale crop insurance can be a lifesaver.
Wednesday, June 3, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

PRESS RELEASE: Root Capital Announces New $15 Million Lending Facility to Finance African Agricultural Enterprises

Source: Root Capital

The company will finance agricultural enterprises throughout sub-Saharan Africa to enhance local food security and stimulate inclusive economic growth in the region.
Friday, May 29, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Vodafone expands Farmers Club to 4 new markets

Source: Telecom Paper

Vodafone announced that it is launching its Farmers’ Club initiative - which offers a range of mobile services to help farmers in Turkey boost productivity - in India, Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania.
Wednesday, May 27, 2015 — South Asia

Why India's farm sector is getting increasing attention from impact investors

Source: Economic Times

Impact investors are now turning their focus to agriculture and its allied fields, after a decade of attention to microfinance, financial inclusion and healthcare.
Wednesday, May 27, 2015 — South Asia

Report: Simple mobile services can boost Indian farmers’ income

Source: Mobile World Live

The introduction of a number of simple mobile services in India has the potential to boost the income of two-thirds of the country’s small-scale farmers by up to $9 billion a year by 2020, according to a report by Vodafone.
Tuesday, May 26, 2015 — South Asia

Analysis: Golden Rice in India: Is It Necessary? What Are Impediments to Adoption?

Source: Genetic Literacy Project

There is a saying in Chinese used to wish others well that means, “may you never live in interesting times.” In a complex world full of conflict, disease, and death, the idea of living in a simpler world without the plagues of the present must seem comforting to most. Sadly, this is not the world we live in, no matter how much one may wish it into reality. For those living in rural India, life can be a constant struggle.
Tuesday, May 19, 2015 — No Region Specified

Silicon Valley’s Clean Tech Investors Eyeing Sustainable Food, Experts Say

Source: Undercurrent News

Food is becoming the epicenter of the growing responsible investment movement in the San Francisco Bay area's Silicon Valley, panelists said during the impact investing discussion at Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Sustainable Food Institute last week.
Thursday, April 30, 2015 — Latin America

Latin American Organizations Campaign to Ban Monsanto

Source: TeleSUR

Doctors, scientists and environmentalists in Argentina, and across Latin America, are demanding a ban on Monsanto products.
Friday, April 24, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Mali's Farmers Count on National Fund to Expand Climate Insurance

Source: allAfrica

A lack of rain in the middle of last season caused Seydou Diarassouba's sorghum crop to fail.
Friday, March 13, 2015 — No Region Specified

Lending to Poor Farmers: Seeding the Market

Source: The Economist

“Coffee is our gateway drug,” jokes Willy Foote, founder of Root Capital. “Then we move on to harder stuff, like cocoa, cashews, quinoa and sorghum.” That is how the firm got started in 1999, after Mr Foote quit his job as a Wall Street analyst, lending $73,000 to a coffee (and cardamom) co-operative in Guatemala. It has since expanded to 25 countries in Latin America and Africa, and in December set up shop in Indonesia, with a loan of $550,000 to an organic coffee co-operative.
Thursday, February 12, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Agriculture Insurance Turning Around Farmers’ Lives in East Africa

Source: New Vision

Jackie Kiconco sits in her garden with her right hand supporting her chin. Her eyes are gazing across the maize garden that she had planted but because of late rainfall, the seeds failed to germinate.
Wednesday, January 28, 2015 — Latin America

Press Release: Better Than Cash Alliance Study Shows Colombia's Digital Payment Tool for Coffee Farmers Is a Model to Replicate

Source: Market Wired

The Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC) Smart Coffee ID Card (CCI), launched in 2006, has become a vital tool for financial inclusion and change in the productive dynamics of Colombia´s rural sector, according to the Better Than Cash Alliance (BTCA), a United Nations alliance of governments, companies and the development community committed to the global transition from cash to electronic payments.
Friday, January 23, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

For Youth, By Youth: Creating Jobs, Sustainability and A Future Vision for Kenya

Source: Forbes

Simeon Ogonda’s vision for Kenyan youth is ambitious. He wants to transform young people from job seekers into job creators who build and support sustainable and transparent enterprises. “My vision is to bring up more young people who can develop their own businesses, work hard, and trust that so long as they keep their passion alive, they will not fail in what they’re doing,” he said.
Wednesday, January 21, 2015 — No Region Specified

Growing Global Health Awareness Could Mean Big Business for Manufacturers

Source: Market Watch

The battle against the bulge is a global phenomenon that could translate into real opportunity for manufacturers, according to a new study by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy. Nearly half (49%) of the global respondents in Nielsen's Global Health & Wellness Survey consider themselves overweight. Obesity rates around the world are accelerating and not just in developed countries. In fact, 62% of the world's 671 million obese individuals live in developing markets, according to the 2013 Global Burden of Disease Study. The study estimated that 2.1 billion people (nearly 30% of the global population) were overweight or obese. Nielsen's study shows that consumers are attempting to take charge of their health—50% are actively trying to lose weight and 88% are willing to pay more for foods with healthy attributes to some degree.
Wednesday, January 21, 2015 — No Region Specified

The End of the Silo: What It Means for Today's Global Health Worker

Source: Devex

From large corporations and foundations to the newest of startups, global health players focused on development are finding that success lies with shared values, aligned purpose and mutually reinforcing efforts. Meanwhile, NGOs are seeking new skills in their global health workforce and field partners, which require workers to think beyond established relationships.
Monday, January 5, 2015 — Latin America

Bolivian Women Bank on Sweet Success of Quinoa Bars

Source: The Guardian

Women in a Bolivian cooperative hope to boost income by adding value to their quinoa crop through making chocolate-coated energy bars.
Monday, January 5, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

How Companies and NGOs Can Work Together to Tackle Food Security

Source: Devex

While the year of agriculture and nutrition, as declared by the African Union, may be over, those issues will undoubtedly remain top development priorities and can present unique opportunities for collaboration with business.
Tuesday, December 9, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

A Magic Wand for Nutrition and Incomes in Mozambique?

Source: Science and Development Network

Smallholder farmers in Mozambique are growing nutritious and lucrative varieties of orange-fleshed sweet potato.
Monday, December 8, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Insurance for Ethiopian Herders Aims to Combat Drought, Conflict

Source: Reuters

Nomadic livestock herders in Ethiopia have received their first payout from an insurance scheme that tracks poor pasture conditions with satellite technology.
Thursday, November 6, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Gates Foundation refutes report it fails African farmers

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has rejected accusations that too much of its funding goes to Western researchers, saying it is helping small farmers in African countries.
Wednesday, November 5, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

PRESS RELEASE: Pershing Square Foundation Makes $611,000 Grant To myAgro To Support Small-Scale West African Farmers

Source: PR Newswire

The Pershing Square Foundation has announced a grant of $611,000 to myAgro – an organization that helps small-scale West African farmers save their way out of poverty through a unique mobile layaway lending program, allowing them to increase harvests by an estimated 75%.
Monday, October 20, 2014 — No Region Specified

With Tomato Paste, Harvard Graduates Hope To Empower Farmers

Source: The Harvard Crimson

Although Nigeria leads Africa in oil exports, two recent Harvard graduates are trying to ramp up the West African country’s production of a different natural resource—tomato paste. “It was a pipe dream I’ve had since 2008,” said Mira A. Mehta, a Business School graduate who co-founded the startup “Tomato Jos” with School of Public Health alumnus Shane F. Kiernan earlier this year. The company, a for-profit social enterprise, aims to build up a tomato paste industry in Nigeria by educating local tomato farmers about agricultural techniques and supplying them with seeds and fertilizers. The name Tomato Jos itself means “cute girl” in Nigerian slang, a play on the fact that the tomatoes in the Nigerian city Jos are known to be very sweet and juicy.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

How Mobile Technology Can Help End Poverty For Rural Farmers

Source: Huffington Post

Mobile phones are giving farmers in rural communities served by Grameen Foundation's Community Knowledge Workers access to information that helps them improve their practices and earn more for their produce.
Tuesday, September 30, 2014 — South Asia

How Agent Orange helped spawn the Socially Responsible Investing movement

Source: Green Chip Stocks

Sustainable, socially responsible mutual funds would not exist without agent orange.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014 — South Asia

Climate smart farmers get tech savvy to save India's bread basket

Source: Reuters

Erratic weather, rising temperatures, declining water resources and labour shortages are threatening India's bread basket state of Haryana, forcing farmers to abandon age-old practices and adopt technology to ensure food supplies for millions.
Thursday, August 28, 2014 — Latin America

Artisanal chocolate shop focuses on education

Source: The Globe and Mail

Introducing Michael Sacco, the founder of ChocoSol, a learning community/social enterprise that focuses on making the ‘food of the gods’ – commonly known as cacao – into fresh, whole food, stone ground chocolate on an artisanal scale.
Monday, August 18, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Your Coffee Is Getting Fancier, But Is It Getting Better For The World?

Source: Fast Company

Fair-Trade certified coffee has become known as an easy way for coffee drinkers to make the world a better place for coffee growers, many of whom are among the world’s poorest people. But a study released in April 2014 seriously questions how much fair-trade certification really does for them.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014 — South Asia

India's Welcome Reform Of Its Ghastly Food Aid Program

Source: Forbes

India is making essential changes to the way that it operates its food aid program for the poor.
Wednesday, August 6, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

U.S. wants Nigeria to take economic leadership in Africa

Source: The Guardian Nigeria

The United States government has expressed the expectation of Nigeria to lead the African continent into economic advancement.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014 — No Region Specified

5 ways to deliver nutrition through cash crop standards

Source: Devex

Nutrition security is an essential part of improving farmer livelihoods.
Thursday, July 17, 2014 — No Region Specified

A Supply Chain Overhaul To Boost Coffee Farmers' Income 400%

Source: Forbes

This is about a social enterprise on a mission to reinvent the coffee supply chain, giving farmers a bigger and more equitable piece of the action.
Friday, June 20, 2014 — No Region Specified

USAID, Keurig Green Mountain, Cooperative Coffees, Starbucks and Root Capital Launch $23 Million Fund to Fight Coffee Rust

Source: Root Capital blog

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), in partnership with Keurig Green Mountain, Inc., Cooperative Coffees, Starbucks and Root Capital, today launched the Coffee Farmer Resilience Fund to leverage $23 million in financial assistance for more than 40,000 coffee farmers combatting the devastating coffee rust outbreak in Latin America and the Caribbean. Since 2012, coffee rust has affected more than two million people in Latin America, causing an estimated $1 billion in economic damages which could lead to 500,000 job losses.
Wednesday, June 4, 2014 — No Region Specified

William Warshauer to Join TechnoServe as President and CEO

Source: Press Release

TechnoServe is pleased to announce that William Warshauer, an experienced nonprofit leader, has been named president and CEO. Will currently serves as chief operating officer of Pact, a $180 million development organization operating in more than 25 countries,
Friday, May 23, 2014 — No Region Specified

GrowthAfrica invests in five Kenyan agribusiness start-ups

Source: Press Release

Five Kenyan entrepreneurs receive 5,000 USD each to solve problems in the agriculture value chain. Nairobi- Kenya- 22nd May 2014: The Growth Hub; a Nairobi based high impact business accelerator is pleased to announce the five start-ups that have received 5,000USD in funding after a successful 16 week incubation program to develop a prototype, pilot and launch their innovation in the market.
Thursday, May 8, 2014 — No Region Specified

A Coffee Crop Withers

Source: The New York Times

Fungus Cripples Coffee Production Across Central America
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 — No Region Specified

Fake seeds force Ugandan farmers to resort to 'bronze age' agriculture

Source: The Guardian

Gangs selling counterfeit high yield seeds are trapping farmers in a cycle of poverty as crops fail.
Monday, April 14, 2014 — No Region Specified

Indigenous leaders empowering communities through social enterprise

Source: The Guardian

Initiatives such as a healing centre in the Amazon forest are helping indigenous groups protect and manage their own land.
Thursday, April 10, 2014 — No Region Specified

PRESS RELEASE: Social Lenders Join Forces to Develop Industry Standards, Best Practices for Smallholder Agricultural Finance

Source: CSAF

The alliance of social lending institutions, also referred to as impact-first agricultural lenders, was formally launched today at the 11th Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship.
Wednesday, April 9, 2014 — No Region Specified

eKutir’s VeggieLite gains Gates Foundation grant

Source: Press Release

eKutir’s new project VeggieLite is a recipient of Grand Challenges India 2014, supported by the Gates Foundation, USAID and DBT, the Indian government’s anti-poverty scheme.
Friday, April 4, 2014 — No Region Specified

Japanese microfinance fund seeks to assist small Peruvian farmers

Source: Global Post

A Japanese small-lot fund operator said Thursday it will launch a new fund with a credit cooperative in Peru to assist Peruvian small farmers, who lack access to financial services, to meet their daily farming needs.
Monday, March 31, 2014 — No Region Specified

The World's Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Food

Source: Fast Company

Newly engineered foods. A TV show satirizing big AG. Farming practices that reduce greenhouse gases. Here are the companies that are cooking up new ideas and changing how we think about our food.
Friday, March 28, 2014 — No Region Specified

Grameen Foundation announces funding boost for microfinance activities in Latin America

Source: Xperedon

US charitable foundation Grameen Foundation has announced new $500,000 match funding backing to aid its Last Mile Initiative, that’s helping lift communities from rural poverty, including farmers in Colombia and Guatemala...
Wednesday, March 26, 2014 — No Region Specified

Innovative business model introduced to benefit oil palm farmers

Source: Ghana Web

B-BOVID, an agribusiness based on social entrepreneurship principles, is introducing a unique profit-sharing concept to its oil palm enterprise which, will greatly benefit local farmers and their communities.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 — South Asia

State Bank of Pakistan Outlines 6-point Action Plan to Boost Agri Financing

Source: Daily Times Pakistan

The agenda includes launch of countrywide onternship programme for 100 top agri graduates, to be funded under the ADB’s Improving Access to Financial Services Endowment Fund.
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 — No Region Specified

PRESS RELEASE: Root Capital Highlights Business Case for Social, Environmental Due Diligence in Investment Decisions

Source: CSR Wire

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Jan. 28 /CSRwire/ - Root Capital, a nonprofit agricultural lender, today released a new issue brief detailing the financial benefits linked to conducting due diligence on the social and environmental practices of its borrowers.
Thursday, December 19, 2013 — No Region Specified

Incofin Investment Management endorses need for agricultural finance by launching new $200 million agRIF fund

Source: Microfinance Gateway

Incofin Investment Management (IM) is seeking to raise around USD 200 million for its new agRIF fund which will focus on the unmet global demand for financial services that target smallholder farmers.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Tanzania Reaches Out to People Without Accounts

Source: allAfrica

Tanzania wants to capture the 50% of the population who are unbanked by 2016 after the launch of the National Financial Inclusion Framework.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013 — Latin America

Coffee shops, farmers and a banker team up to save Latin American coffee

Source: PRI - The World

Coffee trees in Central and South America are in danger. They have always been vulnerable to a disease called leaf rust, or la roya in Spanish. But now a warmer, wetter climate is creating the worst outbreak in a generation.
Thursday, November 7, 2013 — Latin America

Joining Forces to Fight the Leaf Rust Epidemic Devastating Latin American Coffee

Source: News Release

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (GMCR), the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) of the InterAmerican Development Bank and Skoll Foundation announce today support for the non-profit agricultural lender Root Capital ‘s Coffee Farmer Resilience Initiative. The initiative is a collaborative venture designed to stabilize supply chains by investing in coffee farmers at the base of the value chain, who are on the front lines of battling the leaf rust epidemic in Latin America.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013 — No Region Specified

Can data-driven solutions change Africa’s agriculture sector?

Source: Devex

Despite accounting for 65 percent of the labor force and making up 32 percent of its gross domestic product, Africa’s agricultural sector gets less than one percent of commercial bank loans.
Monday, October 7, 2013 — No Region Specified

Financial inclusion: India too may learn from US weather insurance firm ClimateCorp’s model

Source: The Economic Times

ClimateCorp is actually a very interesting company which straddles an intersection between technology and retail financial services in an innovative way. Moreover, its approach holds an important lesson for us in India. ClimateCorp is a provider of weather insurance. However, it does so in a retail, online, productised and data-driven way.
Thursday, September 19, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

USDA, TechnoServe Sign 3-Year, $15M Grant Supporting Cashew Farmers

Source: Press Release

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and TechnoServe intend to enter into a three-year grant agreement to support small-scale cashew producers, processing factories and the Government of Mozambique’s ongoing efforts to reduce poverty. This $15 million Food for Progress-funded project will support the cashew industry by harnessing global market demand for premium cashew kernel and addressing obstacles throughout the value chain, including in the areas of inputs, production, processing and marketing. In total, this project will support 30,000 smallholder cashew farmers by increasing their productivity and competitiveness as well as connecting them to new markets.
Wednesday, September 18, 2013 — No Region Specified

Indonesian farmers need innovative financing to boost productivity

Source: Jakarta Post

The Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin Indonesia) is calling for better access to finance for farmers to help increase their productivity.
Monday, July 29, 2013 — South Asia

Insight: The poison pill in India's search for cheap food

Source: Chicago Tribune

Nearly a decade ago, the Indian government ruled out a ban on the production and use of monocrotophos, the highly toxic pesticide that killed 23 children this month in a village school providing free lunches under a government-sponsored program
Monday, June 3, 2013 — No Region Specified

A Hyperrealistic Farmville To Train The World’s Farmers

Source: Co.Exist

Farm Defenders, a Gates Foundation-funded game that lets people use incredibly detailed data (down to soil conditions in specific villages) to help people learn agriculture techniques before they actually start planting.
Monday, June 3, 2013 — South Asia

'Future proofing' the agriculture sector

Source: Bangkok Post

Asian economies stand vulnerable to climate change. Some of the most significant impacts are expected to hit the agriculture sector.
Saturday, May 25, 2013 — No Region Specified

Food prices squeezing poor people and driving social change by stealth

Source: Oxfam

A new era of high and volatile food prices goes beyond affecting what people can afford to eat and is causing life-changing shifts in society, experts warn today.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013 — No Region Specified

A Plan to Bring Sun-Powered Irrigation to Poor Farmers

Source: The New York Times

A proposed system uses mirrors to increase the power of a solar panel and pump water to crops.
Tuesday, April 23, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

African Farmers Celebrate Earth Day By Saving The World

Source: Forbes

Storms are getting more violent, seasonal patterns are shifting, and the weather is seemingly harder to predict.
Monday, March 25, 2013 — No Region Specified

Serving the poor, but operating like a business

Source: Devex

At a time when public sector resources are limited, and every philanthropic dollar must go further, there is a robust debate in the international development community about how to achieve development goals with less money.
Tuesday, February 19, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Five food issues to watch out for

Source: IRIN

Who or what do you blame when the price of maize seems to keep going through the roof? If you did not mention fuel subsidies, then you need to read this list of emerging food issues in Africa.
Thursday, January 31, 2013 — No Region Specified

FAO warns of bird flu and other viral global health threats


The world is at risk of major animal disease outbreaks like that seen in the 2006 avian influenza outbreaks unless surveillance and control of these diseases are enhanced, warns the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
Monday, January 28, 2013 — Latin America

Killer quinoa? Time to debunk these urban food myths

Source: The Globe and Mail

Twenty years ago, quinoa was pretty much unknown. Now, it’s in everyone’s cafeteria. Its price is going through the roof. And that, in the confused minds of Western foodies, is somehow a bad thing.
Thursday, December 20, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

JP Morgan-linked firm triples cash in Africert deal

Source: Business Daily

A JP Morgan-linked private equity firm, Pearl Capital Partners (PCP), has exited its investment in a Kenyan agricultural firm in a deal that saw it triple its investment in six years.
Tuesday, December 18, 2012 — South Asia

Delhi Dispatch: Rice, Wheat, and Water Serve Up Equal Helpings of Punjab’s Wealth and Risk

Source: Circle of Blue

NARAINGARH, Haryana, India — The first rain in six months, and a stout and cold wind whipped at the black plastic covering stacks of grain Thursday morning at the Shivshakti Rice Mill, one of 13 mills surrounding this roadside village about 70 kilometers west of Chandigarh.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Reshaping the Future of Cocoa in Africa

Source: New York Times

Seventy percent of the world’s cocoa now comes from West Africa, where family-run farms have proliferated across the landscape in recent decades. Yet in a paradox, the spread of these nonnative cocoa trees often contributes to deforestation.
Tuesday, December 11, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya SMEs Get U.S.$60 Million

Source: All Africa

Nairobi — The World Bank has extended a $60 million loan towards boosting Kenya's fledgling Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) sector.
Monday, December 10, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

From NYC To Nairobi: Interview With SunCulture, Audience Choice Award Winners 2011-12

Source: Forbes

All entrepreneurs are inherently risk-takers, but some are willing to go above and beyond for an idea they believe in. NYU Stern alumnus Samir Ibrahim and serial entrepreneur Charles Nichols, winners of the Audience Choice Award at the 2011-12 Entrepreneur’s Challenge fit this description perfectly. The two recently packed their bags and moved to Kenya, where their start-up SunCulture sells solar-powered irrigation products and agricultural services to local farmers.
Friday, December 7, 2012 — No Region Specified

UN FAO calls for sustained investment in global agriculture

Source: International Business Times

Excessive corruption, poor infrastructure and scarce government resources were deterring investment in agriculture and contributing to high levels of malnourishment around the world, said an FAO report released Thursday.
Friday, November 16, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Carlyle Group to Make Africa Investment

Source: Wall Street Journal

Private-Equity Firm Is Latest to Follow Rush Into Continent With Sub-Saharan Fund; 'We're Here for the Long Haul'
Tuesday, November 13, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Italians, Israelis aim to fight hunger in Senegal

Source: The Jerusalem Post

Trilateral agricultural development project seeks to eradicate hunger by providing farmers with technological know-how.
Friday, October 19, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Sisal board introduces mobile decorticators to revolutionise farming

Source: IPP Media

Way back in the early 60s, the sisal industry was the best organised commercial agriculture in East Africa with Tanzania leading in terms of production, followed by Brazil.
Friday, October 19, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Nigeria: UN, Brazil Sign U.S.$20 Million Pact to Help Farmers in Developing Countries

Source: All Africa

A $20 million agreement signed during the week by the United Nations and Brazil will seek to transfer the expertise of the South American country to support cotton farmers in developing economies.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 — Latin America

How Entrepreneurs Can Fight Drug Traffickers

Source: Forbes

There’s nothing like attending the heady, exhilarating Clinton Global Initiative to get me out of the operational trenches of entrepreneurship for social change. But this year, I was distracted by a conversation taking place just down the street at the UN General Assembly—on drug trafficking.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012 — No Region Specified

New Dalberg Report Guides Investors on Addressing Finance Demand for Smallholder Farmers

Source: Press Release

WASHINGTON DC – Dalberg Global Development Advisors has released a new report today identifying innovative and sustainable ways that investors can help fulfill the largely unmet need for smallholder agricultural financing.
Monday, September 17, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Rwanda: Microfinance Firm Boosts Agro-Mechanisation

Source: All Africa

A local microfinance institution, Duterimbere IMF Ltd, has launched new products that target the promotion of agricultural mechanisation among small scale farmers.
Monday, September 17, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

World Hunger: The Problem Left Behind

Source: New York Times

THE drought-induced run-up in corn prices is a reminder that we’re nowhere near solving the problem of feeding the world. The price surge, the third major international food price spike in the last five years, casts more doubt on the assumption that widespread economic development leads to corresponding gains in agriculture.
Thursday, August 30, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

New alliance for food security would accelerate agricultural development -Namoale

Source: Business Ghana

The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, an initiative to lift 50 million people out of poverty over the next 10 years through sustained agricultural growth, was on Wednesday launched in Accra.
Monday, August 27, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Africa innovations: 15 ideas helping to transform a continent

Source: The Guardian

A mobile phone database for dairy farmers and a strain of sweet potato that can help fight child blindness. These are just two of the imaginative new ideas that are tackling Africa's old problems
Wednesday, July 25, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Growing Rwanda Out of Poverty

Source: Forbes

For the last few years, development wonks and international organizations have had the “Green Revolution for Africa” on their radars. Leaders in Africa have recognized that the first Green Revolution (spurred by the work of agronomist Norman Borlaug) resulted in massive improvements in health and productivity around the world, and are now looking to do the same on the so-called “Dark Continent”.
Tuesday, July 10, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Voxtra invests in Mtanga Farms Limited

Source: Seed Investors Blog

The Voxtra East Africa Agribusiness Fund (Voxtra) has completed an investment of US$ 1.5 million in Mtanga Farms Limited (MFL), a commercial farm engaged in seed crops, arable farming and livestock.
Friday, June 8, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Acumen Fund Invests in Virtual City to Automate Agricultural Supply Chains in East Africa and....

Source: Acumen Fund Blog

Nairobi, Kenya, June 5, 2012 – Acumen Fund, a pioneering nonprofit global venture firm addressing poverty across Africa and in South Asia, today announced a $1.5 million convertible debt investment in Virtual City, a mobile technology services provider based in Nairobi.
Wednesday, June 6, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Virtual City gets Sh135m loan from US social fund

Source: Business Daily

Virtual City, a local software development firm, has received a Sh135 million ($1.5 million) convertible loan from Acumen Fund for the development of a mobile-based agricultural application to help small-scale farmers market their produce. The investment represents the latest capital inflows from international investors in the local information technology sector, which is emerging as a key target for venture capitalist firms.
Monday, June 4, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Board Approves Equity Investment of U.S. $100 Million in Agvance Africa

Source: All Africa

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) approved on 16 May in Tunis, an equity investment of USD 100 million to Agvance Africa, the first agribusiness-focused Fund of Funds on the African continent. The strategic objective of Agvance Africa is to increase private investment flows into the agribusiness sector on the continent to address growing food security concerns and unleash the largely unexploited potential of African agriculture and agribusiness sectors.
Thursday, May 24, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

'Explore cocoa potential,' ICCO urges manufacturers

Source: Daily Times

The International Cocoa Coordination Organisation (ICCO), on Wednesday, urged Nigerian manufacturers to explore the potential of cocoa, so as to produce more cocoa-based goods.
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Scaling up the fight against poverty and hunger in Africa


Agriculture is a powerful tool for reducing poverty and hunger. Events of recent years – such as food price increases, droughts, growing climate change impacts and other emergencies – have put agriculture high on the international agenda. We should be clear that agriculture is the solution. Economic growth generated by agriculture is more than twice as effective in reducing poverty as growth in other sectors. Agricultural development is also an effective means of assisting developing countries in building capacity and infrastructure as well as introducing innovation and technology.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012 — Latin America

First Fund to Help Smallholder Farmers with Long-Term Loans

Source: Microfinance Focus

Incofin Investment Management, Fairtrade International (FLO) and Grameen Foundation will establish a ‘First Fund’ to focus on the unmet demand of smallholder farmers for long-term loans.
Thursday, April 12, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Can Coffee Kick-Start an Economy?

Source: The New York Times

When he set out to wedge his coffee onto supermarket shelves in England and America, Andrew Rugasira didn’t start by making phone calls from his home in Kampala, Uganda. He didn’t begin by sending e-mails. The distance seemed too great for that. At one end of his business were farmers who, until he came along, thought their beans were purchased and carried off to make gunpowder. At the other were buyers at the corporate headquarters of chains like Waitrose and Sainsbury’s, Whole Foods and Wal-Mart. If he was going to succeed, he felt he would have to do it physically; it was as if he believed he could stretch himself to span the divide between the two worlds. So he got on a plane to London, without trying any advance contact.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Cape Town's Women Take the Lead in Farm-Focused Social Enterprise

Source: GOOD

Abalimi’s profitable social business, Harvest of Hope, relies on a community-supported agriculture model that provides customers (who pay in advance) a box of fresh, organically grown produce harvested from community gardens each week.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Investing in Agriculture Most Effective Way to Eradicate Poverty in Africa – UN

Source: UN News Centre

With the deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) just three years away, a senior United Nations official today emphasized that spending on agriculture is the most effective type of investment for halting poverty in Africa.
Thursday, March 22, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

One Acre Fund Helps Africa's Small Farmers Keep in Their Fields

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

The One Acre Fund provides access to microloans, training, insurance, and other hard-to-get help that boosts farmers' incomes and curbs flight from farms into cities.
Monday, March 19, 2012 — Asia Pacific

Facebook-style Microcredit Site Helps China Farmers

Source: NewStraitsTimes

BEIJING: Dairy farmer Deligeerma needs 642 to buy fodder for her cows during the harsh winter months in northern China. So far, she has received 149 in pledges from four people around the world.
Thursday, March 15, 2012 — South Asia

Organic Farming Promises to Yield a Sustainable Future for India's Rural Poor

Source: The Guardian

Organic agricultural practices are improving prospects for India's farmers by providing greater profit and sustainability
Monday, March 12, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Enterprise Sets Up Service Centres for Livestock Farmers

Source: Business Daily

A social enterprise has opened 16 livestock service centres to help farmers improve production through better extension services.
Thursday, February 23, 2012 — No Region Specified

Bill Gates to UN: Find new ways to help poor farmers; announces $200 million in grants

Source: AP/Washington Post

ROME — Current approaches to global agriculture are outdated, inefficient and don’t give small farmers in poor countries the help they really need, Bill Gates told U.N. food agencies Thursday as he announced nearly $200 million in grants. The Microsoft founder brought his campaign to fight poverty and hunger in Africa and Asia to a forum of the U.N. International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), one of three Rome-based U.N. food agencies. Much of some $2 billion spent over the past five years to fight poverty and hunger in Africa and Asia by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has gone toward improving agricultural productivity.
Monday, February 6, 2012 — South Asia

IDA to Help Improve Irrigation System in Pakistan

Source: devex

The World Bank’s concessional lending arm is providing $250 million to help improve water and agricultural productivity in the Pakistani province of Punjab.
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

East Africa: Boost for Agriculture

Source: allAfrica

The fight to secure food and income for millions of small holder farmers in eastern Africa, a region that experiences severe food shortages from time to time, is poised to get additional ammunition with the construction of a science research block by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Can The iPad Revolutionize Rural Agriculture?

Source: FastCo.Exist

The iPad’s fairly steep price has kept it firmly entrenched in the developed world. That’s starting to change, however, as evidenced by efforts from Exprima Media and coffee importer Sustainable Harvest to bring the iPad to coffee co-ops and farmers in East Africa, Mexico, and South America.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011 — No Region Specified

Social Business: A More Sustainable Way to Help in Haiti?

Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy

Children dressed in school uniforms sit in rows listening to one of their classmates sing a song while snacks are passed around. Two years ago, before a devastating earthquake struck the island, they were in a different location in a building that has since been demolished on a nearby plot of land here in Léogâne, Haiti. Now these youngsters and their families are getting another chance with the help of an innovative antipoverty effort that combines business tactics with so...
Thursday, December 15, 2011 — No Region Specified

New Legal Structures for 'Social Entrepreneurs'

Source: The Wall Street Journal

You may have noticed the emerging class of "social entrepreneurs" who are creating companies that seek profit but also are devoted to a social purpose, to create long term, sustainable value. But, until recently, social entrepreneurs would find themselves in the position of choosing whether to organize either as a for-profit company or a nonprofit organization. The problem was that sometimes a company would be too much of a business to be a nonprofit. Yet, it also might be too mission-d...
Wednesday, December 14, 2011 — No Region Specified

Samasource, Inveneo Included in Google $40M Grants


In its biggest single-day contribution ever, Google ( GOOG ) on Wednesday announced it has handed out $40 million to battle slavery, promote education and make technology more accessible worldwide, with nearly a fourth of the money going to Bay Area organizations. "The causes we are supporting are issues we've been committed...
Monday, December 12, 2011 — No Region Specified

Wise Ethical Investment Seeks Profit

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Like motherhood and apple pie, socially responsible investment warms most people's hearts. But during a two-year cycle trip across Africa, Swiss investment banker Klaus Tischhauser realized the SRI industry was failing in a key challenge-fighting poverty. Ten years on, the grassroots style of social investing he helped pioneer is wooing many wealthy investors The rich are different, and not just because they have more money. Wealthy individuals often have a wider sense of responsibi...
Monday, December 5, 2011 — No Region Specified

Should Philanthropies Operate Like Businesses?

Source: The Wall Street Journal

It's your money, and you're willing to give some of it away to a worthy cause. But you want to see results. Measurable progress toward agreed-upon goals. Regular proof that your investment is achieving maximum impact. That's the way businesses operate, and charities should be no different. That's one way to look at it, anyway. Others argue that things work differently in the world of nonprofits and social change. Tackling some of society's biggest problems is u...
Friday, October 7, 2011 — No Region Specified

The U.S. Secretary of State's Global Partnership Initiative on Impact Investing

Source: Forbes

Recently, I interviewed Kris M. Balderston, Special Representative for Global Partnerships at the Global Partnership Initiative (GPI), which is located in the Office of the U.S. Secretary of State, and Lala Faiz, a Senior Partnerships Advisor at GPI, and who manages their Investing with Impact initiative . Rahim Kanani: Describe a lit...
Wednesday, September 28, 2011 — Asia Pacific

Wealthy Indonesians Start Sharing the Wealth

Source: The Jakarta Post

There are few places in the word where such vast contrasts exist that one can watch a Bentley overtaking a bajaj on city streets, an act that symbolizes the scale of economic inequality throughout the country. However, several determined Indonesians are aiming to take matters into their own hands as a means to provide greater opportunities to those who are less fortunate. Sandiaga Uno, a successful investor and CEO of Saratoga Capital, has found a unique way to link hi...
Wednesday, September 21, 2011 — No Region Specified

Matt Bannick of the Omidyar Network on Philanthropy, Social Enterprise, Technology and More

Source: Forbes

Recently, I interviewed Matt Bannick, Managing Partner of the Omidyar Network -a philanthropic investment firm dedicated to harnessing the power of markets to create opportunity for people to improve their lives. They invest in and help scale innovative organizations to catalyze economic, social, and political change. eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and wife Pam established Omidyar Network based on their conviction that every person has the pow...
Monday, August 8, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Social Enterprise Spotlight: Just Markets For Ghana?s Women

Source: Forbes

Three years ago Danielle Grace Warren had gone fishing. She was part of a mission to build fish farms in Ghana. These farms, it was hoped, would help generate badly needed income and jobs. The literally graceful and ballerina-like Warren, a creative writer, knew from her experience in Haiti where she had worked on economic development projects that income and jobs were the key to lifting the Ghanaians out of poverty. But they needed to be lots of income and jobs. That simply wasn't possib...
Friday, August 5, 2011 — South Asia

India's Most Famous Investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala Pledges to Give Away 25% of His Wealth

Source: The Economic Times

MUMBAI: Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, India's most famous investor, has pledged to give away 25% of his wealth during his lifetime. He is the fourth Indian businessperson - after Azim Premji, Shiv Nadar and GM Rao - to make a statement of intent to give away a substantial part of their personal wealth to philanthropy. Announcing this on Monday evening at an event organised by GiveIndia, a giving facilitator, the 51-year-old said he planned to route all his charity through his R Jhunjhunwala ...
Thursday, August 4, 2011 — No Region Specified

Recruiting Women To The Burgeoning (But Mostly Male) Host Of Angel Investors

Source: Fast Company

Women philanthropists have traditionally stood back from venture capital startups and angel investing; only 13% of angel investors in the U.S. are women. That's why Natalia Oberti Noguera, a 2005 Yale graduate, founded an angel-investing bootcamp for women. Created to increase the ratio of women angel investors in the social good category, Oberti Noguera's Pipeline Fellowship is announcing a call for applications for women philanthropists who want to be angel investors in s...
Tuesday, June 21, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Can Matt Damon Bring Clean Water to Africa?

Source: Fast Company

Once upon a time, Matt Damon went for a long walk in rural Zambia. The devoted family man and method philanthropist was accompanying a 14-year-old Zambian girl who had no idea that her hiking companion was an Academy Award-winning international heartthrob. The walk came toward the end of a 10-day African journey, a systematic primer on the complexities of the continent's extreme poverty that had been organized for Damon by staffers from his friend Bono's ONE campaign. Damon was ...
Tuesday, January 18, 2011 — Asia Pacific

Diamond Cab Picks Up Hong Kong's Fledgling Social Entrepreneurship Scene

Source: Fast Company

Social entrepreneurship is a relatively new phenomenon in Hong Kong--and one venture philanthropy startup, Social Ventures Hong Kong (SVhk) , has been at the forefront of the movement, with several investees under its portfolio focused on the elderly and disabled. The group's newest project, Diamond Cab , officially launches next week. "Diamond Cab is the first branded, high-quality taxi servic...
Friday, January 7, 2011 — South Asia

Ebay Founder Plans to be India's Biggest Social Investor

Source: Business Standard

The philanthropic fund started by Pierre Omidyar, the founder of Ebay Inc, plans to be the biggest investor in projects targeting India's 900 million poor, living on less than $2 a day. "The rate at which we're investing, we will probably be the leading firm in that space at the bottom of the pyramid," said Jayant Sinha, managing director of Omidyar Network's India operations. Ranked second on Barron's list of the world's 25 best philanthropists last month, the...
Thursday, December 9, 2010 — No Region Specified

16 Tycoons Agree to Give Away Fortunes

Source: The Wall Street Journal

The billionaire founder of social network Facebook Inc. has agreed to give the majority of his wealth to charity, part of a broader group of rich entrepreneurs committing to philanthropy earlier in their lives. Mark Zuckerberg has signed onto the "Giving Pledge," which asks its signatories to commit publicly to give away the majority of their wealth. The 26-year-old is one of 16 billionaires new to the p...
Tuesday, July 13, 2010 — No Region Specified

Inside the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Source: The Guardian

The headquarters of probably the most powerful charity in the world, and one of the most quietly influential international organisations of any sort, currently stand between a derelict restaurant and a row of elderly car repair businesses. Gentrification has yet to fully colonise this section of the Seattle waterfront, and even the actual premises of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which, appropriately perhaps, used to be a cheque-processing plant,...
Wednesday, May 5, 2010 — No Region Specified

Citi?s Work and Future Strategies in Microfinance

Source: Microfinance Focus

Microfinance Focus , May 4, 2010: Microfinance Focus has taken an exclusive interview with Robert Annibale, Citi Foundation's Global Director of Microfinance, and Pam Flaherty, Director of Citi Corporate Citizenship and CEO and President of the Citi Foundation who speaks extensively...
Friday, March 12, 2010 — South Asia

Global Billionaires Turn to Philanthropy in India

Source: Economic Times

MUMBAI: In his khadi jacket, sitting in a south Mumbai fivestar hotel, Jayant Sinha does not look any bit of the hedge fund manager that he was until a few months ago. In fact, he looks more like his father, former finance minister Yashwant Sinha. But it is a different sort of deal that Sinha is chasing. As the India head of Omidyar Network , Sinha is looking at various initiatives to improve the lot of those at the bo...
Monday, March 1, 2010 — No Region Specified

Maximum Impact: How Top Philanthropists Would Spend $10 Billion

Source: Wall Street Journal

At this year's World Economic Forum in Davos, Bill Gates , the chairman of Microsoft Corp., committed $10 billion over the next decade to help develop vaccines and distribute them to children in the developing world. By anyone's estimation, this is a lot of money and a worthy cause. But could it be spent even more wisely? It is now ...
Wednesday, May 27, 2009 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Is Aid Working?

Source: Financial Times

It is hard to argue with the lofty ambition to end once and for all the scourge that is global poverty. How the world should go about this, however, is much more vexed. If poor countries do not have sufficient capital, aid advocates argue that there is a moral imperative for rich ones to help. Since 1970 hundreds of billions of dollars in bilateral and multilateral aid has been sent to Africa from the developed world. G20 leaders agreed at last month’s summit London that an extra $50bn ...
Monday, April 27, 2009 — No Region Specified

Time for a New Kind of Capitalism?

Source: BBC News

The global financial crisis has led to serious questions, about the state of world capitalism. Anger is still running hot and strong against what's perceived as the selfishness and greed of those in big Western banks and corporations. But there are some entrepreneurs who believe now is the time for another kind of capitalism to grow and flourish - a more kind and compassionate form which has social good as its goal, the betterment of the lives of the world's poorest people, and ...
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