The Smarter Climate Farmers Challenge is calling for innovations that champion the ability of farmers and people working within land and food systems to use climate-smart agriculture approaches.
These solutions will provide a more secure and sustainable food present and future, while helping people adapt to the effects of climate change and incentivizing resilient solutions.
Communities and farmers are at the forefront of the severe effects of climate change, which is increasingly impacting food production and consumption. Drought, extended desertification, land degradation, unreliable rainfall, heavy flooding, stronger storms and extreme temperatures are all increasing in frequency.
This challenge is a call for solutions using climate-smart agriculture approaches to improve food production, promote better living standards, respond to climate change and lead to the efficient care of the planet’s resources within food ecosystems.
- The focus areas of this challenge include:
- Inclusive technology
- Innovative ways to engage with farmers and those within the food value chains, from harvest to distribution and consumption in restaurants and within households, are also a focus of this challenge.
- Solutions should focus on how technology is better preparing farmers to produce food in climate adverse conditions and to reverse GHG emissions. Solutions could include, but not limited to, mobile connectivity applications, satellites, drones, block chain, smart irrigation, AI, vertical or horizontal farming, Indigenous technologies, sustainable gastronomy and more.
- These solutions should be affordable and create new employment opportunities or be used by those in the field or where climate adversity in agriculture is taking place.
- Innovative financing
- Farming in extreme conditions requires large amounts of funding to cope with climate shocks and prolonged damage to food systems. Solutions should be accessible to all, aim to mitigate food price increases during food shortages, as well as limit the social cost of carbon (damages, for example).
- Solutions could also offer financial incentives to care for the environment or lead to climate-smart investments and partnerships. Moreover, a just rural transition focus is needed, in which inclusion of agricultural farmers and fair wages are a priority.
- Resource efficiency and sustainability
- When producing food, sustainable and efficient land use solutions are required, including techniques in land restoration, indoor farming, nutrient management, lighting and yield enhancements.
- This also includes water use efficiency, irrigation, rainwater harvesting, desalination, regenerative agriculture, innovative fertilizer, and carbon sequestration solutions.
- All solutions should aim for low or clean energy usage, a reduced footprint, while aiming for zero to low emission agriculture, which in turn helps capture carbon back into the ground.
- Knowledge, skills and education
- Smallholder farmers are already leading the way in climate-smart agriculture. They are looking for solutions that expand on this knowledge and incentivize its implementation.
- In addition, they are calling for solutions that incorporate native and local knowledge of the soil and geo-social needs. Moreover, solutions should engage farmers and workers and help them gain wider skills in food production techniques for climate adaptation, resilience, technology, market profitability, investment opportunities and community building.
- Finally, they call for solutions that promote the education and skill-building of producers and consumers so that they undertake climate-smart, nutrient-rich food behaviours and decision-making.
- Inclusive technology
- Between 10-15 submissions will be selected as Top Innovators and become part of the UpLink Innovation Network, a curated programme designed for Founders, CEOs, or Executive Directors, which provides:
- Access: opportunity to participate in selected World Economic Forum and partner-led events, projects and communities.
- Visibility: global exposure via the Forum’s and UpLink’s digital media channels.
- Connections: strategic introductions to selected organizations in the Forum’s and UpLink’s network.
- Targeted Support: including programming and support on technical, business and operational matters.
- Award: eligibility for a portion of a monetary award by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
- Submissions from across the globe that is scalable in their local contexts and potentially replicable in different parts of the world.
- Business model: for-profit start-ups, social enterprises and small and mid-sized enterprises that have already received capital/funding and are ready to / or are already generating revenue with a sustainable funding model and hybrid organizations. Not-for-profit organizations with a clearly defined, income-generating project may be considered.
- Stage: beyond the ideation and prototype phase and demonstrating the potential to scale and achieve long-term financial viability, impact, and sustainability. UpLink Top Innovators have typically reached the pilot to growth/scale phase of their operations.
- Management team: committed, diverse and values driven management team with demonstrated execution capabilities.
- Female-leadership: they encourage female-founded solutions to apply, where women are founders, co-founders or leading in chief executive roles.
- Socio-economic impact: submissions should deliver economic impact through improved incomes and inclusion of agricultural farmers and communities.
- Environmental impact: the nexus of food, water and energy is considered, and submissions should foster biodiversity, soil health and nutrients, trees, and promote zero-emissions and carbon capture.
- A just rural transition: where farmers are considered and engaged throughout supply chains.
- Partnerships: collaboration and community within local, national, and global stakeholders to grow and expand the solutions, and potentially collaborate with R&D.
- Innovation and replicability: innovative and unusual solutions are welcome however, they should be replicable in other challenging contexts or serve as a stepping-stone for food systems transformation while protecting the environment.
- Investable: demonstrate a clear track record of investability (having previously raised investment, participated in accelerators or an entrepreneurship fellowship, are grantees, award recipients, high-level speaking engagements, or announced partnerships with credible entities).
- Focus areas, impact and quality: applications must include how the solution is working on selected focus areas, and its current and forecasted impact with the organization’s growth.
For more information, visit UpLink.