The roughly 500 million smallholder farmer households worldwide are responsible for at least 70% of global food production and create livelihoods for some 2 billion people. Yet many smallholder farmers still live in poverty and must deal with both food and livelihood insecurity. Digital technology has the potential to help farmers share and build knowledge, overcome productivity challenges, and reduce market inefficiencies in order to make a substantial contribution to improving the livelihoods of smallholders.
However, scaling digital solutions to smallholders in developing countries is not an easy task, due in part to limited connectivity, a lack of awareness, regulatory gaps and the broader challenge of reaching female farmers, amongst other constraints. Digital technology has shown that it can have a transformational impact on smallholder agriculture, but widespread scaling and adoption has been slow. The challenge: How might we overcome the systemic challenges to incentivising and scaling the adoption of digital technology, in order to better match technology and innovation to farmers' needs?