IDH Farmfit provides business data on services’ impact on food security and nutrition

Smallholder resilience, as we define it at IDH, are farming households that earn a decent living income, are food secure, climate resilient and inclusive of all farming members including women. Businesses that have established relationships with smallholders, can play a crucial role in supporting resilience in smallholder farming households by providing effective services; like training on good agricultural practices or access to input and finance.

To capitalize on companies’ relationships with farmers and better leverage the services they provide, IDH set up Farmfit in November 2018. IDH Farmfit provides advice to businesses, including a tailored analysis of effectiveness of their services, including the profit and loss of service provision for their business and the farmers. This analysis helps companies get a clearer picture of where to invest to improve their own profitability and the profitability of the farmers.

Service provision impacts food security and nutrition, climate resilience and gender

Recently, IDH Farmfit built into the business analysis an integrated approach to capture data on the impact of services on food security and nutrition, climate resilience and gender. Primary data is collected on general household economics and characteristics of the farmers/customers reached by the services. This data provides IDH Farmfit with information on the farmer net income and cash flow throughout the year, and includes indicators on women’s empowerment, household resilience strategies and food availability. Key indicators like female labor participation or access to finance, are triangulated with national indicators to make sense of the data in the value chain and country context.

Using this data, IDH Farmfit develops gender disaggregated farmer profiles to identify risks and vulnerabilities of farmer households. These insights help to tailor technical assistance to improve the delivery of services that strengthen household resilience. This can include a range of interventions including:

  • opportunities to enhance women’s access to agricultural inputs, skills and productive resources that increase farm productivity;
  • policies or practices to make the workplace inclusive for both women and men and capture untapped talent of the labor force (e.g., equal payment policies, enforced sexual harassment policies with training on gender-based violence; adopted hiring targets);
  • diversifying livelihood opportunities, to increase farm production levels for household food and nutrition needs, while increasing supply to the company;
  • services to enable farming household members to better anticipate and cope with changes in climate including through climate smart agricultural practices.

IDH Farmfit can deepen your businesses impact and scale

If your business is engaging with smallholders and wants to understands how to create resilient smallholder farming families, IDH Farmfit can help. By unpacking the structural barriers that are disempowering women, driving food insecurity or malnutrition and preventing farmers from coping with changes in climate. IDH Farmfit can provide your business insights on the ways that effective service provision can respond to smallholder resilience, while strengthening your bottom line.

The aggregated data and insights from over 60 businesses is accessible in the IDH Farmfit Intelligence Centre and is being used to influence policy and stimulate investment from both donors and financial institutions. When effective models are backed by businesses, IDH Farmfit has the opportunity to mobilize large scale investment through the IDH Farmfit Fund to create scale.

More about IDH and World Food Day or read the other blogs in the Food Security series on Fish farming in Africa  or developing SMEs in Africa.

To learn more about how IDH Farmfit can support your business contact: