SWFF Program & Innovator News
August 28, 2017
Practical Action: Growing Opportunity Amidst Eroding Land


In the impoverished northeast region of Bangladesh, river bank erosion has destroyed the farms and homes of millions of people. Most of these displaced people take shelter on an embankment or other eroding land, which forces them to leave yet again and continues the cycle of displacement and trauma.

Practical Action, an international charity, focuses on problems of this nature. "These communities used to have houses and farms," says Nazmul Islam Chowdhury, head of Practical Action's Extreme Poverty Program. "But all that has been washed away by environmental catastrophes. No one is helping them."

Practical Action helps families in the region grow food by cultivating an unexpected place: the very river banks where their homes and farms once stood.

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  • The International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) has been awarded a grant from the Expo 2020 Dubai's Expo Live Innovation Impact Grant Programme to conduct an innovative research project on inland and coastal modular farms in the United Arab Emirates. 
  • Ignitia was featured as one of the top five disruptive start-ups in the ag-tech space by the Larta Institute.
  • Meat Naturally is implementing a new mobile abattoir technology, called a Beefalo, to support access to markets for communal farmers adjacent to protected areas where foot and mouth disease is endemic. This is the first time those farmers will be able to sell their animals in a formal market for a fair price. If successful, this will remove market barriers for millions of Africans living adjacent to or within wildlife areas. 
  • aQysta participated in this year's AgroExpo in Bogota, Colombia, showcasing their Barsha Pump hydro-powered irrigation system. This innovation uses no fuel or electricity, has no operating costs, and produces zero emissions. 
  • WASTE Stitchting recently launched its innovative water recycling program in Nilgiris, India. This program uses black and gray water recycling to produce irrigation water for exotic vegetable cultivation as well as high-quality composting material.
Opportunities
  • Cutting-edge startups and research projects across the ag-bio, renewable energy, sustainable materials, food production, animal health, and farming technology sectors are invited to apply to present their business/technology at the 2017 Ag Innovation Showcase in St. Louis, Missouri, September 11-13, 2017.
  • First call for speakers at the Agribusiness Congress East Africa. Presenters are asked to submit an extended abstract (300-400 words) and a short bio (50-100 words) to zayeen.daniels@spintelligent.com for inclusion in the 2017 programme. You can find more information here.
  • USAID and partners want to celebrate innovations that are reaching scale and understand how innovations in development around the world will impact millions of lives. Help USAID find and identify these outstanding innovations by submitting your nominations here.
  • Take this course from 2SCALE to learn how partnerships and bottom-up innovations can help you build a profitable and inclusive agribusiness. 2SCALE is an agribusiness incubator improving rural livelihoods in Africa by accelerating inclusive business in agri-food industries.
  • Learn about farmer-level data collection that will take your marketing to the next level by listening to Feed the Future's Metrics for Marketing TechTalk webinar.
  • Participate in online workshops by Agribusiness Academy to add to your knowledge about food and agribusiness supply chains, with the technology and expertise for global scale.
1001 Words

Hao Bein and his wife Eang Srey Nheb from Cambodia's Kampot province tend to new crops in their field. Because of their partnership with Project Alba, they're guaranteed a fair price for everything they produce.