Incubating Innovation: Solutions for a Parched Earth
Massive droughts and water demands from a world population projected to grow to nine billion by 2050, translate to food insecurity and lack of water for agriculture. Securing Water for Food sources and invests in a portfolio of innovative solutions that help farmers use water more efficiently and effectively; improve water storage for lean times; and remove salt from water to make more food.
Managed through USAID’s Global Development Lab, Securing Water for Food (SWFF) is one of six Grand Challenges inaugurated by former USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah in 2011 and launched during World Water Week in 2013.
In partnership with the Swedish International Development Corporation Agency (Sida), and the Foreign Ministry of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, SWFF issued its first call for innovators in November of that year.
The Challenge received 520 applications from 92 countries and made awards to sixteen innovators whose ideas ran the gamut from an adaptive, symbiotic fungus for drought tolerance — which has global potential — to flying drones delivering vital crop information to farmers in Mozambique.