“Innovation Hubs” to empower
smallholder farmers to improve their
mallholder farmers are very often disadvantaged from the larger development
process due to challenges of access – infrastructure, knowledge and market access
– and consequently caught in a vicious cycle of low investment, low risk taking ability,
low productivity and poor markets, and therefore low incomes.
The opportunity lies in supporting and empowering the smallholder farmers through
This is a combination of
Innovation Platforms which bring together players along the value chain to
share issues and opportunities; and
Incubation Hubs that assist and mentor entrepreneurs through new business
investments, supporting them during the start-up highest risk phase.
Science with a human face
How this works
Linking the private sector,
government and communities
for identifying business
issues and opportunities
Innovation Platforms bring together private sector,
government and the community – each partner
playing a complimentary role along the value chain.
There is vested or shared vision for partnerships.
Facilitating discussions through the innovation
platform will assist to:
Link the farmers closer to the markets
Identify market issues and opportunities
Forge multi-disciplinary partnerships
Develop business models/market linkages
Identify evidence-based policy change support
that is needed.
Incubation Hubs complement and integrate with
the innovation platforms as they assist with the
implementation of business initiatives. They are a
safety net at the highest risk, early set up phase of
business development. This is important to help
farmers manage risks and enable them to invest in
new initiatives to grow and advance.
The Incubation hub provides:
Customized market and business knowledge
Assistance with access to inputs like
technologies and credit
Protection/risk management at a viable cost
until scale is achieved
Links to the value chain players
Influencing required policies.
Many of these support activities are provided
through the network of the Innovation Platform
as well as being customized and accessed
through the Incubation Hub added expertise.
This approach brings together two proven initiatives
(Innovation Platforms and Incubation Hubs) in a
new and complementary way. This is a powerful
A concept note for
Ensuring nutritional security in rural India
A safety net and support
for new business
combination of approaches that will significantly
build the livelihoods of smallholder farmers with a
much higher rate of success.
The Innovation Hubs will initially be run as pilots in
25 hubs. Monitoring and evaluation will be carried
out throughout gathering lessons learned, and
ensuring that critical factors for success are adopted.
Plans are for 100 hubs in year 2 and major scaling up
to 1,100 hubs by year 5.
ICRISAT’s role will be to:
facilitate the setting up of the Innovation
support with the running of these hubs;
ensuring the community is empowered in
conduct monitoring and evaluation of the
process and its effectiveness; and
undertake research to support business
initiatives and share scientific, market and
policy knowledge and expertise.
The Innovation Hubs will be self-sustaining through
a combination of community ownership and private
sector investments in a market-driven production
Support an Innovation Hub and the research behind it.
Help grow these on a large scale.
Cynthia Bantilan, Director, Research Program on
Markets, Institutions and Policies