Call for Solutions Private Sector-related Innovative Rural Development


The Alliance for a Green Revolution (AGRA) is launching a Call for Rural Innovative Solutions in agriculture to invite the submission of write-ups for known existing solutions applicable to rural agriculture. These solutions should enable smallholder farmers to increase their production, incomes and generate employment for youth and women. The focus would be on solutions generated or piloted by the private sector for up scaling and adoption by smallholder farmers. The shortlisted solutions will be documented, packaged into knowledge products and promoted at global showcasing events for AGRA, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and potentially up-taken by other organizations for wider adoption across Africa and Asia and the Pacific regions. The solution providers will enjoy full acknowledgement and recognition of selected solutions.

Objective and outputs

AGRA has partnered with IFAD to identify, document, and promote the uptake of 40 private sector-related innovative rural development solutions in Africa. The objective of this program is to promote the selected rural development solutions on the Rural Solutions Portal, a web-based knowledge-sharing platform set up by IFAD that collects and shares rural development solutions for subsequent uptake by practitioners and end users in the field of agriculture and rural transformation. Rural development solutions are innovations, technologies, processes and methodologies for the rural world. Use the following link to access the portal:

These solutions should be from the following thematic areas:

Input system development (e.g. research and development, seed systems development, fertilizer systems development, innovations for input adoption through private business models, financial inclusion, etc.).

Policy (e.g. solutions in policy sequencing, land registration and online land rental market and agricultural parks among other things).

Small machinery and mechanization (e.g. pre-production and post-harvest tools and equipment and irrigation technologies).

Information Communication Technology (e.g. solutions in e-commerce enabled value chain development, digital-enabled extension, use of satellite imagery or drones for monitoring & information systems).

The specific outputs will be:

1. Documentation: a specialist consultant assigned to this project will contact the solution provider to analyze and document the solution and produce a technical write-up of the solution.

2. Knowledge product: package the solution into knowledge products such as white papers, tool kits, handbooks or books.

3. Communication materials: depending on suitability, communication materials developed will be to promote the selected solution. Communication materials may include photo packages, a 3-min video, and infographics, etc.

4. IFAD Rural Solutions Portal: The selected solution will be featured on IFAD’s innovative Rural Solution Portal. Click here to access the portal.

5. Promotion at show-casing platforms: depending on suitability, the selected solution will be showcased and promoted on platforms in Africa and/or Asia and the Pacific (for example, in China), South America. Platforms may include global showcasing events such as the Africa Green Revolution Forum (AGRF), conferences etc.

Definition and criteria

A rural development solution is defined as an initiative that solves specific challenges in the rural environment. It is a tool that can be used and re-used to address common issues like resource management, marginalization of rural communities, financing concerns, erosion, pollution, financial stress and the effects of climate change. It can be a technology, such as a sustainable energy source, a financial scheme that gives rural people access to credit or savings, or a process that supports rural businesses, like enterprise support centers, or training programs.
The solutions we are seeking must meet the following criteria:


The solution has been tried and tested, producing good results. In the case of an innovation that has not yielded clear results yet, the expected results should be clear, tangible and concrete on food security, increased incomes, contribution to agricultural sector.


The solution needs to be focused on solving a specific problem/challenge in rural areas, e.g. for the smallholder farmer, the rural small business or the fisher folk.


The solution can be re-used, adapted and adopted by others in similar socio-economic or environmental situations.

In addition: after making sure solutions respond to the three basic criteria above, prior to being uploaded to the Portal, they will undergo a thorough vetting process to ensure they address the following questions:

1. Relevance. Does the solution address a clearly articulated development challenge?

2. Effectiveness/efficacy. Does the solution actually solve the problem/challenge? (i.e., does it remove the constraint? Does it actually help the target group address the development challenge they face?)
3. Impact potential on rural poverty. Does the solution effectively address a specific challenge related to rural poverty reduction within the target group? Does it have the potential to improve the living conditions of the target group, addressing rural poverty in the area where it is implemented?

4. Link to public goods. Can the solution address challenges associated with regional or global public goods (e.g., adaptation to climate change, water management, etc.)?
5. Replicability in other development contexts. Is the solution of broad applicability/utility to different and diverse contexts? Does it work only within a specific natural or socio-economic environment or can it be used also somewhere else?

6. Replicability in other countries. Is the solution of broad applicability/utility to different countries? Does it work only in the country where it has been implemented?

7. Scaling up. Has the solution the potential for ‘scaling up’? Can it be replicated (in the same context or elsewhere) and scaled up?

8. Innovation. Is the solution featuring new technology, new business model or new implementation approach – institutional, process-related, or technical?

9. Sustainability. Is the solution sustainable, whether in financial terms (cost-effectiveness) or in broader social, political, or environmental terms?

10. Private sector. Is there private sector engagement in the solution? 11. Communications and knowledge management. Has the solution generated a broad body of literature or communication products? Is this body of literature appropriate for uploading the solution onto a web portal?

Submission Details

The proposals should be received from from June 15, 2020 – November 30, 2020 2359hrs (EAT)

 at the following address: Please include in the subject line “SSTC Call for Solutions”. Kindly download and use the solution template for your submission. To see an example of the final product please visit the Rural Solutions Portal


For enquiries, please contact Jane Njuguna or Xinqing Lu