Our Approach to Feeding the World

Fundamental changes in our global agricultural systems are urgently required if we want to increase production to feed a growing population while dramatically reducing agriculture’s environmental impact.

To solve these problems, IFDC takes the unique approach of engaging the entire discovery-to-consumer continuum. By bridging the traditional gaps between research, technology dissemination, and market systems, we and our partners innovate, achieve results, and sustain impact at scale.

How We Do It

We operate on the belief that providing farmers with more nutrient-efficient and profitable technologies, and strengthening related market systems and policies, leads to improved livelihoods, increased food security, and better environmental outcomes. Four strategic priorities flow from this approach:

Fertilizer Research

While a new generation of tools and technologies appropriate for large-scale, industrial farms being developed, our research focuses on testing and adapting promising technologies that are appropriate for small-scale farmers in developing nations. This includes: 1) developing more nutrient-efficient, environmentally sound fertilizers; 2) validating soil and nutrient testing technologies; 3) scaling up production and adoption of new, tailored fertilizers; and 4) refining and scaling Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM).

Improving Farm Productivity, Profitability, and Sustainability

Working with national research agencies, the private sector, and local stakeholders, IFDC conducts on-farm demonstrations, intentionally engages women and youth, and uses innovative behavior change and ICT to scale and sustain the adoption of emerging technologies. These efforts will improve on-farm crop-production, the profitability of farming families’ operations, and both the environmental and economic sustainability of smallholder farms.

Strengthening Linkages between Farmers and Markets

To scale up the adoption of an improved technology, the technology must expand or improve the production of a commodity that is in demand by the market, and that technology must be profitable for farmers to use. To aid in strengthening the linkages between farmers and markets, IFDC conducts scaling assessments to identify promising technologies and commodities and develops partnerships with agribusinesses to drive the development of target commodity systems and scale technology adoption.

Enable Impact of Development Efforts

IFDC is committed to providing technical support and training to help countries improve, maximize, and sustain their investments in soil fertility and plant health. IFDC strengthens the capacity of national policymakers, scientists, agencies, and private sector partners to identify and implement key agricultural system changes. This is accomplished through supporting regional dialogues (such as the West Africa Fertilizer Forum), helping nations develop and implement evidence-based agriculture-related policies and regulations, improving the technical capacity of public and private-sector partners, and sharing new soil and plant health-related knowledge and data.

IFDC will coordinate its work across these priorities to effectively connect individual projects, programs, and partners, ensuring that the our and our partners’ efforts contribute to lasting advancements toward an environmentally sustainable world without hunger and poverty.

Read more about our technical approach in our 2020-2030 strategy.

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Strategic Partnerships

Strategic partnerships underpin our work to bridge the gaps between research, farmers, markets, and a supportive, enabling environment. The sustainability of our impact depends on effective partnerships at all levels – from international donors to field-level businesses and research organizations.