Moving Towards Inclusive Prosperity in Nicaragua's Agri-Food and Export Sectors(Technolinks+)
2016 - 2022
MEDA, the Institute of Agricultural Technology, and the Ministry of Local Economy are collaborating to accelerate Nicaraguan small farmers’ and agri-food processors’ adoption of productive technologies needed to increase harvest, improve produce quality and grow overall farm profitability, at the enterprise and export supply chain levels.
Nicaragua continues to be one of the least developed countries in Latin America but is also a country with a resilient history and well known of because its productive culture. In Nicaragua, more than 55% of people in poverty live in rural areas. Agriculture is essential for the Nicaraguan economy and comprises 19% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The low levels of agricultural exports in relation to its Central American neighbors indicate a substantial low yield, as well as an investment opportunity for its development.
Low farm and enterprise productivity is partly attributable to inadequate use and access to technology. As found in the 2011 Fourth Agriculture Census, only 1 to 2% of Nicaraguan small-scale farmers have access to basic technologies, such as improved seeds and irrigation.
Technology finance for farmers and enterprises is also in short supply. Equipment distributors and agri-food processors with growth potential find it difficult to access the capital, technical and mentoring assistance they need to grow into vibrant, competitive engines of equitable growth. Nicaragua needs to spur export growth, and thereby sustainably expand livelihood opportunities for small-scale farmers with special attention to women producers.
The Technolinks+ project is enhancing the entrepreneurial and business capacities of farmers, processors and distributors by providing better access to innovative, environmentally-sustainable technologies, matching grants and links to markets.
The project will raise awareness of the need for the creation and access of productive agriculture and food processing technologies at all levels of the supply chain. Key activities include:
- Increased agricultural productivity, profitability and adoption of technologies by women and men farmers
- Increased agricultural output, profitability and adoption of agriculture and food processing technologies by distributors and food processors
- Agriculture and food processing technologies effectively promoted by public and private partner institutions
- Provide participating businesses with customized business development services to improve productivity, build market linkages, and stimulate business growth.
- Establish coordination mechanisms with government entities to promote the adoption of new technologies and environmentally-friendly production methods and create sustainability.]
The project aims to achieve sustainable results through a blend of partnerships with like-minded stakeholders and technical capacity-building investments aimed at progressively empowering local stakeholders to embrace project methods.
Technolinks+ will employ the use of smart incentives to induce and accelerate technology investment amongst targeted smallholder farmers and enterprise clients. The two primary incentives will be electronic vouchers directed at smallholder farmers and matching grants for distributors and processors. Opportunities for developing third-party financing mechanisms for farmers will also be pursued in partnership with financial institutions in Nicaragua.