Securing Water for Food, is a collaboration of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (MFA-NL) and the government of South Africa. It supports innovations that help farmers produce more food with less water, enhance water storage and improve the use of saline water and soils to produce food.
The group takes an innovative approach to foreign assistance. Through a competitive process, the program identifies and invests in a portfolio of innovative solutions.
“Supporting projects which focus and aim at overall efforts towards water and food security and at managing water resources efficiently with equity, equality, and innovation in focus are key,” said Ana Gren, Sida’s Senior Policy Specialist on Water Resources Management and Sanitation.
In November, Securing Water for Food announced 12 new awardees that will receive between $100,000 and $3 million in funding and acceleration support to bring their innovations to scale. The awardees include the following:
- AgroSolar Irrigation Technology – Kenya: Scaling a solar photovoltaic-powered drip irrigation system tailored to the needs of small-holder farmers.
- Aquaponics for Smallholder Farming – Uganda: An aquaponic farming system of simultaneous cultivation of plants and fish. The waste of the fish is used as fertilizer for the plants, increasing efficiency, outputs and incomes for smallholder farmers
- The Buried Diffuser: An Underground Irrigation System -Tunisia: Used for trees, shrubs and vegetables in fields and greenhouses this new underground irrigation technique helps save water and energy.
- EcoRangers and Meat Naturally: Communal Grazing System – Botswana, Kenya, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa: A communal grazing system that unlocks the economic and environmental potential of rural communities by training Eco-Rangers and supports in market access while restoring catchment areas.
- Groasis Waterboxx – Jordan: An integrated planting technology that helps restore degraded ecosystems by using fruit, fodder trees and shrubs to cover eroded soils and build up organic matter.
- Irrigation Scheduling System – Peru: An irrigation scheduling system that measures climate factors through a GIS platform and texts or emails farmers with recommendations on when and how much to irrigate.
- mFodder – Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda: Amazon for fodder: A mobile phone and database for small-holder livestock farmers which uses text messaging to outsource for high-quality green fodder usage.
- Mobile Weather Forecasts – Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal: A highly accurate weather forecast model to help farmers in the tropics plan their farming schedule. This maximizes water availability and improves crop yields to optimize food production.
- NewSil – India, South Africa: A safe, sprayable silicic acid that allows food crops to absorb Silicon, which helps grow more food with less water.
- Slurry Separation System – Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda: A slurry separation system that reduces the water demands of anaerobic digestion, creates a solid fertilizer, increases gas production and kills pathogens.
- SWAR: Subsurface Drip Irrigation System – Ethiopia, India: The world’s first sub-surface drip irrigation system that releases moisture when “asked” for it by the crop.
- Waterpads® – Ethiopia, Turkey: A biodegradable polymer wrap that absorbs 100 times its own weight in water that helps improve water efficiency.
Since its start in 2013, Securing Water for Food has saved over 500 million liters of water, produced nearly 2,000 tons of food and served more than 300,000 farmers and other customers in more than 20 low-resource countries, according to its website.
“Almost a billion people on this planet don’t have enough to eat,” said Christian Holmes, USAID’s Global Water Coordinator. “By combining the resources and support of the private and public sectors with innovations from some of the world’s brightest thinkers, Securing Water for Food is making great strides to combat this challenge.”
Sources: Securing Water for Food, USAID