Commitments to action

Empowering Smallholders Through Strengthened Digital Ecosystems

Netherlands Food Partnership, Rabobank (Suzanne van Tilburg - Global Head Food & Agriculture Networks), Rabobank Foundation (Alexander Meyer - Head of Rabobank Foundation International), Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (Simon Winter - Executive Director), Netherlands Food Partnership (NFP) (Myrtille Danse - Executive Director), Global Farmer Network (GFN) (Mary Boote – CEO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) (Thouraya Triki – Director Sustainable Production Markets and Institutions), ISEAL Alliance (Kristin Komives - Director of Programmes)


Digitalization for smallholder agriculture can be a game-changer in supporting and accelerating agricultural transformation across low- and middle-income countries. Investing in building this digital infrastructure will enable new capabilities in agriculture and revolutionize how communities secure their livelihoods leading to our shared vision of a living income for all.

Digital platforms can enable key services to be provided efficiently and at low transactions costs to smallholders. In addition, they can help create traceability, boost the true value of food and provide extra income streams. Many digital platforms already exist and are currently being developed to serve smallholders. Yet many smallholders are beyond the reach of these emerging platforms and not benefiting. Some of the challenges related to the unsuitability of the digital solutions provided for the local context, the cost of the service, the digital literacy gap, and the limited reach, in particular to women farmers and the poorest smallholders. Additionally, some structural barriers prevent access, such as the costs of infrastructure like fiber connections in rural communities, with data being even more expensive than in developed countries. It is crucial to address these and other challenges to promote greater access to and uptake of digital tools for smallholders and rural communities.

In the currently published national pathways, several countries such as Albania, Burundi, Cambodia, Eswatini, Honduras, Kuwait, Malaysia, Poland, Marshall Islands, Rwanda, and South Africa have highlighted the importance of strengthening their smallholder digital ecosystem to drive food systems transformation.


We believe that it will take the development of “Platforms of Platforms” to connect the evolving platforms and digital product and service providers into a functioning digital ecosystem. This needs to be supported by appropriate policy and regulatory frameworks to improve the outcomes for and with smallholders. A stronger ecosystem needs to include good infrastructure, clear roles for digital services and human agent models, good understanding, and the capacity of SHF and rural institutions in each context to adopt and use these solutions.

In brief, we would like to see how to build on the digital platforms and services already existing or under development, to address the basic needs of smallholders more directly. Developing change agents with digital literacy is vital. They can provide the human face to the technologies that will enable access and use by millions of lower-income smallholders. These agents will link technology companies to smallholders, fostering a new breed of young ICT ‘agripreneurs’.


Private sector
Producer organizations

Action Area(s)

Advance Equitable Livelihoods, Decent Work, & Empowered Communities



Key contact

Myrtille Danse, Netherlands Food Partnership
[email protected]




Related commitments

Zero Hunger

Productivity of food crops including cereals and grain legumes particularly in semi-arid dryland areas is about a ton per hectare.

Read More »

Artificial Intelligence For Rural and Mountain Communities

The Mountain Partnership is the only United Nations voluntary alliance of partners dedicated to promoting the world’s mountains and mountain peoples. Mountains contribute to sustaining the livelihoods of 1.1 billion people living in mountains and those of a much larger number of people in the lowlands.

Read More »

Action for Inclusive and Sustainable Food System Finance

Upgrading of food value chains for improved productivity, nutritional quality, safety, and standards, would require financing which is not in the means of many small-scale farmers, fishers, and agri-SMEs that lack collaterals. Financing is critical for accessing better technologies and innovations needed to sustain agri-food systems.

Read More »

Projeto de Criação de Poedeira, Frangos de Carne com Construção de Infraestrutura

Dada a ocasional carência de ovos e carne de frangos na comunidade e no país e tendo em conta ao curto ciclo de produção das aves, haverá possibilidades de proporcionar á população local e nacional o aumento do consumo de proteína animal, contribuindo assim para a melhoria da dieta alimentar de muitas famílias. O pavilhão terá, uma superfície é de 60m, terá capacidade de alojar 600 poedeiras a 3000 frangos de carne.

Read More »