SWFF Program News
Oct. 17, 2016
How the Securing Water for Food Challenge Seeded My Social Enterprise
When I was 16 years old, I saw how difficult gardening could be in South Africa and set out to change it. I wanted to give people, regardless of their experience or education level, joy in growing their own food and protect the quarter of South Africans who go hungry every day. So I developed a paper seed strip technology that allows aspiring gardeners to plant seeds at the correct spacing and depth to reduce water usage and increase germination rates.

The product has been wildly successful, but it has not been easy moving a new agriculture technology from idea to proof of concept to scale in an emerging market that ag-tech investors have found too risky.
Innovator News
  • Earlier this month, Dr. Ku McMahan and eight SWFF innovators - Reel Gardening, World Hope International, Green Heat Uganda, aQysta, Ignitia AB, MyRain, Adaptive Symbiotic Technologies, and Practical Action - flew to San Francisco to take part in this year's SOCAP16.
  • The Institute for University Cooperation (ICU) in Peru produced a video on their innovative Irrigation Scheduling System funded by SWFF. In Peru, access to weather information is limited and expensive, and ICU's climate stations provide farmers with the information they need. 
  • Adaptive Symbiotic Technologies was mentioned in The Economist's Technology Quarterly: The Future of Agriculture. 
  • MetaMeta and SaltFarm Texel's saltwater potato was featured on CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley and CBS This Morning Program.
SWFF Updates
  • SWFF closed its fourth Global Call for Innovations on October 10, 2016, receiving the highest number of applications for one of its global calls to date with over 550 submissions. Seventy four percent of applicants were from developing countries, and 89 percent were new to USAID or other partner funding. The high number demonstrates the growing need for investment in the water-agriculture nexus in developing countries.  
  • Securing Water for Food Technical Assistance Facility Chief of Party Dr. Donna Vincent Roa spoke at the World Food Prize in Des Moines, Iowa on a panel side event titled "Exploring the Common Challenges of U.S. and International Farmers" put on by the Alliance to End Hunger and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.
  • This month, the SWFF team conducted site visits in Nepal with aQysta. The team visited a total of seven out of the 20 currently operating Barsha Pumps locations, where farmers - without fail - agreed that the pumps were  a dependable and cost-effective way to get water to their crops. This year, aQysta reached an agreement with the Nepali government to subsidize the purchase of 200 units over the coming year. Awareness is increasing about the project, and the organization is growing. 
Industry News
1001 Words
CBS' Mark Phillips interviews Marc van Rijsselberghe, SaltFarm Texel's potato whisperer. The segment aired on CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley and CBS This Morning.