Rural innovation

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The information on this page is intended as a resource and pointer for those looking to start projects of technology innovation in a rural context.


Physical rural techhubs, labs, incubators & hacker-/makerspaces in ...


  • LakeHub in Kisumu, Kenya
    A technology innovation hub, open space for entrepreneurs, technologists, investors and makers, supporting teams with creative solutions in locally relevant industries such as Fishing, Dairy and Tea Farming in the region around Kisumu, Western Kenya.
  • Sote Hub in Taita Taveta County, Kenya
    A rural business startup support center: Incubation, co-working & mentorship for local high school students.
  • Thread in Sinthian / Tambacounda, Senegal.
    A site for artists from around the world to live and work and also an agricultural hub for Sinthian and the surrounding villages, providing training, fertile land, and a meeting place for the local and regional community to increase their economic stability.
  • CIA Delta in Ross Bethio, Senegal
    Rural agritech incubator
  • Yeesal AgriHub in Thiès, Senegal
    A space of exchange and collaboration for young tech-innovators in the agribusiness sector.
  • Songhai Centre in Porto Novo, Benin
    Agricultural & entrepreneurship training center, research & technology innovation, incubator committed to an integrated system of production based on a synergetic interaction between agriculture, animal husbandry, and fish farming.
  • EcoTec Lab in Lome, Togo
    Makerspace aiming to use ICT for ecology, sustainable development and renewable energies through developing solutions in particular for rural communities and agriculture.
  • AgriHub Ghana in Accra, Ghana
    "The premier market-oriented Agribusiness Knowledge Space in Ghana. Focus on Agribusinesses."
  • Twende social innovation center in Arusha, Tanzania
    Aims to empower people to become creative problem solvers who make their own life-improving technologies, working towards a world with more local solutions to local challenges with a special focus on agricultural technologies for small-scale farmers.


  • Hackerfarm in Kamogawa, Japan
    Run by a collection of Japanese and foreign tech hackers who’ve escaped from city life. "We’re working together on projects, making life richer for ourselves and for the community who have adopted us." Projects include a monitoring system for the local rice farmers.
  • ICRISAT iHub in India is a creative space where agricultural technology entrepreneurs, scientists and experts can collaborate to innovate cutting edge ideas for smallholder farmers
  • ProtoVillage in India is a role-model rural community being built for the villagers, by the villagers. It will be a center for learning, practice, demonstration and dissemination of the knowledge on how any community in this region can organize itself to be Resilient – Ecologically sustainable, Socially cohesive, and Economically viable.
  • Green Shoots Agri-Tech Centre in North West Cambodia is a community-led space, for horticulture training, demonstrating best practices for rural development. Promotes locally-led problem solving and entrepreneurship



  • Floating Fab Lab Amazon on the Amazon river in Peru & Brasil is a sustainable project to build a floating workshop for digital fabrication with the goal of promoting environmental & cultural conservation..


  • Nomade der Mers Low-tech experimentation platform, promotion support and broadcasting medium, the Nomade des Mers aims to become an exemplary autonomous ecosystem, standard-bearer of sustainable and fair trade innovation.


Agriculture & rural hackathon events & initiatives


Rural Low-Tech Hardware / Internet-of-Things (IoT) innovation Communities & Platforms

  • Open Source Ecology / Global Village Construction Set
    Open Source Ecology is a network of farmers, engineers, and supporters creating the Global Village Construction Set, an open source, low-cost, high performance technological platform that allows for the easy, DIY fabrication of the 50 different Industrial Machines that it takes to build a sustainable civilization with modern comforts.
  • IDDS International Development Design Summits organised by IDDN (International Development Innovation Network)
  • l'Atelier Paysan
    un collectif de paysan-ne-s, de salarié-e-s et de structures du développement agricole, réunis pour developer une démarche innovante de réappropriation de savoirs paysans et d’autonomisation dans le domaine des agroéquipements adaptés à l’agriculture biologique.
  • Agriculture related DIY projects on Instructables
    Instructables is a website dedicated to step-by-step collaboration among members to build a variety of DIY projects.
  • Design Without Borders
    a non-profit foundation that works with applied design practices in humanitarian and development contexts. Their design philosophy is based on participatory processes and user involvement.
  • Agriculture related technologies at Engineering for Change (E4C)
    Engineering for Change (E4C) is an online platform and international community of engineers, scientists, non-governmental organizations, local community advocates and other innovators working to solve global development problems.
  • FarmHack is a community for those who embrace the long-standing farm traditions of tinkering, inventing, fabricating, tweaking, and improving things that break.
  • AKER Openly licensed urban garden hardware designs are developed by a global team of collaborators.
  • Projects tagged "farming" on Make: Magazine
    Make is an American magazine published by Maker Media which focuses on do it yourself (DIY) and/or DIWO (Do It With Others) projects involving computers, electronics, robotics, metalworking, woodworking and other disciplines.
  • Food & Agriculture Portal on Appropedia
    Appropedia is the site for collaborative solutions in sustainability, poverty reduction and international development through the use of sound principles and appropriate technology and the sharing of wisdom and project information.
  • One School One Garden Initiative
    The One School One Garden (OSOG) program uses Web-based aquaponic gardens to promote environmental education and awareness and to improve food security in the developing world.
  • Sensorica open value network Sensing and sensemaking for (g)local food systems
    Projects include: eCommunity Garden, Lab-on-a-chip sensor technology for soil, water and food testing, Open source plant counter, Smartphone sensing, etc.
  • The Farmbot Project is humanity's open-source automated precision farming machine.
  • Common Garden Open source software for growing things.
  • The Open Source Beehives project
  • Aquapioneers Uno Open Source Aquaponics kit
  • Open Bug Farm An innovation platform to stimulate interaction between farmers, researchers and hobbyists who want to change the world with edible insects.
  • Le Petit COOL is the world's first open source personal smart greenhouse
  • Food & Agriculture Solutions Database on the "empowering people. Network"
    The "empowering people. Network" aims to identify and foster innovative technology that tries to solve basic supply problems around the globe.
  • Food & Agriculture tagged projects on WikiFab
    Wikifab is a wiki-based open source hardware documentation platform.
  • wikiHow Gardening and Landscaping & Outdoor Building sections.
    wikiHow is a worldwide collaboration of thousands of people focused on one goal: teaching anyone in the world how to do anything.
  • Low-tech Lab
    The Low-tech lab is a collaborative research and documentation project aimed at disseminating and promoting low-tech technologies.
  • Aquapioneers is an open source aquaponics kit
  • OpenAQ is the world's first open, real-time and historical air quality platform, aggregating government-measured and research-grade data - entirely open-source. We're also a community of folks who are working to help each other do impactful work with these data to fight air inequality - the unequal access to clean air.
  • Agriculture innovations on Global Innovation Exchange An ever-growing database aimed to accelerate innovation in developing countries.


Communication & Energy Infrastructure for Rural & Off-Grid Areas

  • Wireless Africa is researching ways and means to develop sustainable information and communications technology in developing countries. This will be achieved through community-owned decentralized mesh networks built on open source technology
  • Village Telco is an initiative to build low-cost community telephone network hardware and software that can be set up in minutes anywhere in the world.
  • OpenBTS The OpenBTS software is a Linux application that uses a software-defined radio to present a standard 3GPP air interface to user devices, while simultaneously presenting those devices as SIP endpoints to the Internet. This forms the basis of a new type of wireless network which promises to expand coverage to unserved and underserved markets while unleashing a platform for innovation, including offering support for emerging network technologies, such as those targeted at the Internet of Things.
  • (Pure Energy Systems) is a publicly editable site with an extensive directory and encyclopedia on energy technologies that are on the cutting-edge, and which are clean, super-efficient, non-depleting, reliable and affordable; which have not yet been introduced to the mainstream.
  • Energypedia is a wiki-based platform for collaborative knowledge exchange on renewable energy and energy efficiency topics in developing countries.


Agribusiness & ICT4Ag Online Networks & Communities of Practice

  • Innovation Factory Community to explore interdisciplinary approaches in ICT4Agriculture for small-holder farmers.
  • e-agriculture is an online community of practice around the topic of ICT4Agriculture
  • agritools is a multimedia research project that aims to discover some innovative ICT and agriculture experiences in Africa.
  • OpenATK Open source farm management apps for precision agriculture.
  • farmOS developer community for Open Source Web-based farm management and recordkeeping
  • FARMDATA is an open source web-based database system for entering and reporting crop production records,
  • Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition GODAN works to support global efforts to make agricultural and nutritionally relevant data available, accessible, and usable for application worldwide
  • Coherence in Information for Agricultural Research for Development Initiative CIARD is a global movement dedicated to open agricultural knowledge.
    • CIARD RING The CIARD Routemap to Information Nodes and Gateways (RING) is a global directory of web-based information services and datasets for agricultural research for development
  • Open Ag Data Alliance To help farmers access and control their data
  • MIT Open Agriculture Initiative An open source ecosystem of food technologies to create healthier, more engaging and more inventive food systems. Grow local, from anywhere.


  • Agri Pro Focus is an online community of practice and networking portal for the agriculture sector, with local communities in many countries
  • Agriculture Network hosted by The Practitioner Hub for Inclusive Business
  • Africa Agribusiness Platform on LinkedIn
  • VC4A latest agribusiness startups in the Venture Capital For Africa community
  • SIANI Swedish International Agricultural Network Initiative (SIANI) is a member-based network that supports and promotes a multisector dialogue with participation from academia, the private sector, Swedish authorities and civil society surrounding SDG2. SIANI’s goal is to ensure sustainable agriculture for food security, improved nutrition and the eradication of hunger.
  • AgTechXChange This space is for discussion, questioning, and generally connecting about commercializing agricultural technologies, innovations, and services that also benefit smallholder communities around the globe.


Ecological, Open & Community Based Farming & Food Production

  • URGENCI International Network for Community Supported Agriculture.
  • Slow Food
  • The Global Ecovillage Network envisions a world of empowered citizens and communities, designing and implementing their own pathways to a sustainable future, and building bridges of hope and international solidarity.
  • Permaculture Worldwide Network
  • The AgriCultures Network builds and shares knowledge on small scale family farming and agroecology.
  • Open Food Network established to develop, accumulate and protect open source knowledge, code, applications and platforms for fair and sustainable food systems.
  • The OpenSourceSeeds initiative aims to make seed a common good again. It equips new crop varieties with the open-source licence. This is the most efficient way to legally protect seed from patenting and variety protection.
  • The Open Source Seed Initiative (OSSI) is dedicated to maintaining fair and open access to plant genetic resources worldwide in order to ensure the availability of germplasm to farmers, gardeners, breeders, and communities of this and future generations.
  • is a collaborative online portal on seeds, biodiversity and food
  • OpenFarm is a free and open database for farming and gardening knowledge.
  • Public Lab is a community where you can learn how to investigate environmental concerns. Using inexpensive DIY techniques, they seek to change how people see the world in environmental, social, and political terms.
  • Prolinnova (PROmoting Local INNOVAtion) is an NGO-initiated international multistakeholder platform to promote local innovation processes in ecologically oriented agriculture and NRM.
  • online community with discussion forums for "Permaculture & Homesteading Goofballs"
  • Greenhorns is a grassroots organization that works to support new farmers in America aiming to retrofit the food system and to build a thriving agricultural economy, for healthy regions, healthy watersheds, and a healthy farm culture through strong communication, solid business skills, sustainable farm practices and importantly, teamwork.
  • Young Agrarians (YA) is a Canadian network for new and young ecological and organic farmers. YA is both an on-line and off-line community building project.
  • The Regeneration Hub, a project of Regeneration International and Open Team, connects project holders, individuals, funders and communities to a global network of regenerators working locally to solve global challenges through regenerative concepts and practices.
  • CropMobster helps build communities that focuses on food waste prevention and resource sharing within geographical locations.


Online Learning on Rural Development, Sustainable Agriculture & Climate Change Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC):

  • AGRIMONITOR: Agricultural policy, food security and climate change MOOC by IDB on edX
  • FAO's E-learning Centre provides access to a variety of courses for professionals working in food and nutrition security, social and economic development and sustainable management of natural resources.
  • Powering Agriculture MOOC Powering Agriculture—Sustainable Energy for Food
    This MOOC will introduce participants to the Energy-Agriculture Nexus and introduces approaches for sustainably providing energy throughout all stages of agricultural value chains.
  • ELD MOOC by the Economics of Land Degradation (ELD) Initiative
    The ELD MOOC shows participants how to assess the economic benefits of land in order to prevent land degradation.
  • agMOOCs by the Centre for Development of Technical Education, IIT Kanpur and NPTEL.
    agMOOCs is an online platform designed to help students, professionals and organizations to acquire and enhance knowledge and skills in the agriculture domain. Courses include: "Fundamentals of ICT for Agriculture", "Integrated Pest Management (IPM)", "GIS in Ag-Essentials and Applications", "Weather Forecast in Agriculture and Agro-advisory"
  • MOOC On Horticulture by IIT-Kanpur
    MOOC On Horticulture is a novel attempt to rejuvenate and transform the way of cultivation in India. It has been accomplished entirely on mobile technology using simple mobile phones.
  • Future Food Production: Crops by Wageningen University
    This online course will be of great interest to international students and those with varied educational backgrounds, both professionally and culturally, to enrich their views and action perspectives related to global food security and food systems.
  • Courses tagged "agriculture" on MOOC List
  • TC115: Agriculture, Innovation, and Technology
  • Agriculture OER Open Educational Resources on agriculture for African higher education


Funding for Agri-Business & Agriculture Innovation

  • BioInnovate Africa The Bioresources Innovations Network for Eastern Africa Development Programme is a regional initiative supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) to assist countries in eastern Africa benefit from the revolutionary advances in biosciences, by converting such technologies into innovations for inclusive growth and sustainable development.
  • blueMoon is Ethiopia's first youth agribusiness incubator
  • African Agribusiness Incubators Network (AAIN) Incubating agribusiness-incubators through advancing entrepreneurial talent, networking, integrating science and technology for job and wealth creation in Africa.
  • Agri-Vie is a private equity investment fund focused on food and agribusiness in Sub-Sahara Africa
  • Fanisi Venture Capital Fund is a $50M fund which makes direct investments (private equity and venture capital) in businesses with potential for substantial growth.
    "We seek opportunities to upgrade and stabilize value chains by investing in agro-processing and developing local and international market linkages." The Fund focuses on a segment of the market that has to date been outside the ambit of most venture capital funds in the East African market (Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda).
  • GSMA mAgri Programme
    "We support scalable commercial mobile services that impact smallholder farmers and the agricultural industry at large"
  • Maendeleo Agricultural Enterprise Fund (MAEF)
    MAEF invests in these agricultural-sector SMEs by providing working capital and support in agronomy, business and marketing. This enables them to expand their vital services to more smallholders.
  • EU funding opportunities related to innovation in agriculture, food and forestry
  • Pearl Capital Partners is a specialist agriculture investment firm that has been investing in small and medium sized East African agribusinesses since 2006
  • Powering Agriculture An Energy Grand Challenge for Development (PAEGC) seeks to identify and support new and sustainable approaches to accelerate the development and deployment of clean energy solutions for increasing agriculture productivity and/or value in developing countries.
  • The Mastercard Fund for Rural Prosperity is a US$50 million challenge fund to extend financial services to people living in poverty. Focus: Subsaharan Africa
  • The Global Innovation Fund invests in social innovations that aim to improve the lives and opportunities of millions of people in the developing world.
  • Development Innovation Ventures (DIV, USAID) supports breakthrough solutions to the world's most intractable development challenges by finding and testing bold ideas that could change millions of lives at a fraction of the usual cost.
  • Conservation, Food and Health Foundation Conservation grants help improve ecological and environmental conditions in the developing world. Food grants support focused efforts to improve access to food for consumption in developing countries.
  • AGRA (Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa) is a proactive grant-maker. Their staff identify organizations to implement projects designed to help attain the goal: to double yields and incomes for 30 million farming households by 2020.
  • Root Capital lends to producer associations and private enterprises that are building sustainable livelihoods in the agriculture sector and related industries.
  • Small Foundation supports finance and technical assistance providers that improve the business ecosystem for on-farm and off-farm micro, small and medium rural enterprises by expanding access to knowledge, finance, technology, and markets.
  • Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR) provides direct grant assistance to the poorest and most vulnerable groups in developing member countries (DMCs) of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) while fostering long-term social and economic development.
  • IFAD Indigenous Peoples Assistance Facility (IPAF) The Facility invites applications from indigenous peoples' organizations and communities, as well as organizations that work with them, for grants to fund projects, innovative approaches and partnerships that promote the development of indigenous peoples and help them fulfil their aspirations.
  • Funding opportunities for agriculture innovation on Global Innovation Exchange


Reports and statistics on Agricultural and Rural Development

Title/Link Publisher/Author Sector / Tags Region Date

Subnational distribution of average farm size and smallholder contributions to global food production Minnesota Population Center agriculture, demographics global 2017-01
Africa Agriculture Status Report - 2015 AGRA Africa 2015-09
Mobile Payments: How Digital Finance is Transforming Agriculture CTA agriculture, mobile payment Uganda, Zambia, Ghana 2015-05
Success Stories on Information and Communication Technologies for Agriculture and Rural Development FAO Asia & Pacific 2015-02
Youth and agriculture: Key challenges and concrete solutions FAO, CTA & IFAD Global 2014-08
Small and Growing - Entrepreneurship in African Agriculture Agriculture for Impact agriculture, entrepreneurship Africa 2014-06
AFRICA PROGRESS REPORT 2014 - GRAIN FISH MONEY, Financing Africa’s Green and Blue Revolutions Africa Progress Panel agriculture, fishing, economy Africa 2014-06
Planting the Seeds of a Green Revolution in Africa Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa agriculture Africa 2014-05
ICT4D Effects: Youth, ICTs and Agriculture IICD agriculture, ICT Kenya 2013-11
Mobile Applications for Agriculture and Rural Development World Bank mobile, agriculture global 2012-05