Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Global; Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Togo, Tunisia, Zambia
Lead executing agency: Varies by country
Overall term: 2015 to 2023
Never before has so much food been produced worldwide as today. Yet more than 800 million people face starvation while another two billion suffer from chronic malnutrition.
In Africa, the majority of people suffering from hunger are smallholder farmers. They have been unable to fully exploit rising global demand for agricultural goods that would help them to sustainably improve their living conditions. Due to a lack of coordination between the storing, processing and selling processes, a large proportion of the food they produce spoils on the way from the field to the plate. Heavy dependence on the global market places many people at risk of sudden and acute food shortages, especially those living in poor rural areas. This makes it especially important to increase the availability of foodstuffs on local markets.
The key to raising incomes and boosting production in agricultural systems characterised by smallholder farms lies in modern cultivation methods, enhancing organisation, such as through associations of producers, and improving marketing along the entire agricultural value chain. In short, locally adapted innovations are needed in order to foster sustainable development throughout the agricultural and food sector.
Innovations in the agriculture and food sector have increased the incomes of small farming enterprises, boosted employment and improved the regional food supply in the rural target regions.
The Green Innovation Centres programme is currently active in 15 countries. It coordinates its activities with local ministries and cooperates with programmes under the special initiative One World - No Hunger as well as with bilateral German development cooperation programmes.
Smallholder farms are the focus of the Green Innovation Centres programme, which aids them in sustainably increasing their agricultural production and income. A second objective is to generate new jobs in the area of food processing, ensuring that a greater portion of the value added from agricultural production remains in the local area, especially within rural regions.
Women in these partner countries generally have poorer access to education and to the means for engaging in production, particularly land and capital. To address this deficit, the Green Innovation Centres consider their needs in particular, for instance by providing them with special training courses and advisory services.
The programme promotes networking between local innovation partners in order to improve and accelerate the spread of innovations within the participating countries. These innovations may be technical in nature, such as mechanisation within agriculture or improved seeds, fertilisers and food cooling chains. In many cases, they focus on new channels for cooperation, such as setting up producer associations, specialised enterprises or interest groups.
The Green Innovation Centres also promote the development and dissemination of knowledge by providing advisory services, organising educational and training courses, and facilitating access to loans for supporting innovation. Whenever possible, the programme cooperates with existing agricultural schools, knowledge hubs and research institutes such as the Africa Rice Center. The private sector is also providing its support: In Tunisia, the innovation centre has launched a training offensive in cooperation with the large Tunisian dairy company Délice.
The Green Innovation Centres are futhermore engaged in cooperation with civil society and associations. In Mali, for example, a cooperation programme for promoting functional literacy is being conducted with the German Adult Education Association.