MEDA, the Institute of Agricultural Technology, and the Ministry of Local Economy collaborated through Technolinks+ project to accelerate Nicaraguan small farmers’ and agri-food processors’ adoption of productive technologies. Through this project, MEDA aimed to increase the harvest, improve produce quality and grow overall farm profitability, at the enterprise and export supply chain levels.
Our Technolinks+ project worked to provide small-scale farmers, agribusinesses, and cooperatives with increased access to technologies. The project provided these farmers and businesses with an electronic voucher and grants mechanism to develop their businesses and improve their use of technology.
The goal of the Technolinks+ project was to accelerate Nicaraguan small farmers’ and agri-food processors’ use of more productive technologies. The project aimed to improve the entrepreneurial capacity of producers, agribusinesses and cooperatives through better access to innovative, environmentally sustainable technologies, using incentives, investments, and market linkages.
The project aimed to support 35,000 women and men smallholder farmers, 85 agribusinesses and cooperatives, and public institutions at all levels of the supply chain.
Nicaragua is a lower income Latin American country that is heavily dependent on its agricultural sector, comprising 19% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In Nicaragua, more than 55% of people in poverty live in rural areas.
Low farm and enterprise productivity is partly because few Nicaraguan small-scale farmers have access to and adequately use basic technologies, such as higher quality 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 become vibrant and competitive.
Nicaragua needs to spur export growth, and sustainably expand livelihood opportunities for small-scale farmers, especially women producers. The low levels of agricultural exports when compared to its Central American neighbors indicates a substantial low yield, as well as an investment opportunity for its development.
The Technolinks+ project aimed to enhance the entrepreneurial and business capacities of farmers, processors and distributors by providing them with better access to innovative, environmentally-sustainable technologies, matching grants and links to markets.
The project worked to 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 included:
The project aimed to achieve sustainable results by partnering with like-minded stakeholders and technical capacity-strengthening investments aimed at supporting local stakeholders to use project methods.
Technolinks+ used smart incentives to encourage smallholder farmers and enterprise clients to increase their investments in technologies. These incentives include electronic vouchers to target smallholder farmers and matching grants for distributors and processors. Technolinks+ also partners with financial institutions to develop financing mechanisms for farmers.
This e-book (available in Spanish and English) is one of the outcomes of the Rural Women and Entrepreneurship program implemented by MEDA through the Technolinks+ project. It captures not only the challenges that the women faced but describes how they moved forward through the support of the Women’s Empowerment Program implemented by MEDA.
In this program, more than 400 women have participated and 90 of them have received credits to implement their business plans through cooperatives, financial and public institutions. This program equipped them with entrepreneurial skills and personal growth that gave them confidence and benefited the women entrepreneurs, their families, and their community.