Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia Ethiopia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Nicaragua.
IDE – International Development Enterprises is an international family of non-profit organizations dedicated to creating an enabling environment for poor rural households to participate effectively as micro- entrepreneurs in high value agriculture market systems arid to progress from subsistence production to generating cash income from commercial farming.IDE has taken a leading role in the micro-irrigation revolution to enhance small farmer productivity over the last 26 years, and has developed and refined appropriate micro irrigation technologies (MITs) that are low cost and designed for smallholder farmers, Including treadle pumps, manual hand pumps, drip systems, efficient micro sprinklers, water storage technologies, shallow tube well systems, and multiple use water systems. Investing in initial design and promotion of MITs, IDE actively engages the private sector in manufacturing and sustain supply chains for micro-irrigation products.
Since the early nineties, IDE has developed an integrated value-chain development approach to develop high value market opportunities based on the comparative advantages of small producers. This approach, termed Prosperity Realized through Irrigation and Smallholder Markets or PRISM, is IDE’s unique adaptation of a traditional value chain approach to achieve sustained economic benefits for the rural poor. PRISM recognizes that the smallholder producer is merely one link in an entire chain of commercial activity and that productive connections to service providers and market actors are vital to producing increased income for smallholders.
IDE designs market-driven intervention in each region in which they work. The first steps are to determine water resource availability and to identify crops and market interventions that offer the best returns to large numbers of small producers. Interventions focus on high-value subsectors such as vegetables, fruits, spices/herbs, non-timber forest products, poultry, fish, coffee, tea, livestock, and honey. IDE focuses on developing profitable service provider enterprises that market and supply appropriate micro irrigation technologies (MITs) to smallholders along with quality farm inputs and technical advice. IDE also extends its market-based PRISM approach to the private supply of low cost rural water supply, water filtration, and sanitation products for poor clients. IDE often works in close partnership with farmers’ groups, NGOs, government agencies, private sector firms, and/or research institutions and forges collaborative public private partnerships.
To date, IDE’s supply chain development efforts for low-cost water control technologies for smallholders have resulted in the commercial distribution of some 3.5 million water lifting and micro-irrigation technologies, which on average are producing net additional farmer income of more than $150 per year. The PRISM integrated value chain model enables poor rural households to increase their net income by an average of $250 a year. The added income allows these families to invest in nutrition, healthcare, and education.
IDE currently operates country programs in Nepal, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, and Nicaragua and employs more than 500 total staff worldwide.
As poverty is a multi-faceted problem, IDE believes that income is a basic human need and self-sustainability is the first step towards combating poverty. IDE’s experience has proved that the poor will gladly invest in their own betterment and has used this principle to create a range of affordable solutions that increase the income of small plot farmers. Today, over 900 million people who rely on agriculture live at the bottom of the economic pyramid. The obvious solution for generating prosperity among this population is through increased efficiencies in agricultural activity. However, two main constraints prevent this from happening without outside interventions: easy and affordable access to water for irrigating high-value food crops and connection to markets where the farmer can sell produce for a profit.IDE implements a three pronged approach to counter these constraints:
Provision of access to extremely affordable water pumps and water storage by working as much as possible through local private sector manufacturers and distributors.
Provision of individual on-farm support and training at the village- level for installation of technologies, good agronomic advise and market information.
Creation of links to local and global markets where farmers can obtain fair prices for their produce. In the absence of an existing market, IDE works to create a new market system.
Over the last 28 years. impact studies have clearly demonstrated the widespread benefits of IDE’s work. A one year investment of approximately $250 made by IDE in one farm family, coupled by an additional $200 invested by the family themselves over a period of two years, enables the family to generate an average net income of nearly $300 per year. This vital increase in income is enough for subsistence farmers in developing nations to begin the upward spiral out of abject poverty on a sustainable basis. IDE’s approach treats farmers as customers and entrepreneurs, uses for-profit marketing techniques to reach a broad audience, facilitates linkages to markets, and has a rapid, broad, and sustainable impact not only on the target populations but on many more around them. In its first 25 years, IDE invested $77,000,000 of donor funds into its projects. This was matched by investments of $125,000,000 made by the farmers themselves and it resulted in $288,000,000 additional net income being realized each year by the farmers.
Rural families typically use their added income for necessities such as better nutrition, increased education, health care, and shelter. It is significant to note that after food needs are met, customers are most likely to reinvest their extranet income on agricultural production. Like any good entrepreneur and small business owner, farmers use their profits to reinvest in their business. It is also notable to see that 2% of additional income goes into savings. Families who were recently surviving from day-to-day are now looking towards the future. IDE’s successes illustrate how increased income generation provides a springboard for the poor to access food, housing, health, education and other necessities to begin their journey out of poverty.
In the last 28 years, IDE has worked with over 3,800,000 families, approximately 19,000,000 individuals and also aided in the start-up of over 10,000 micro-enterprises.
Using the PRISM model, IDE seeks to integrate millions of small farm households into markets and to create sustainable businesses to reduce rural poverty worldwide.
PRISM Goals and Principles
The goal of the Poverty Reduction through Irrigation and Smallholder Markets (PRISM) is to enable smallholder prosperity by integrating smallholders into sustainable, expanding agricultural markets. PRISM is based on the following characteristics and principles:
Smallholder Focus. Smallholders are farmers cultivating between 20 square meters and 2 hectares of land. Those constitute the majority of the world’s poor, so PRISM focuses on the unique needs and opportunities of smallholders.
Make Markets Serve the Poor. PRISM is based on the belief that the rural poor can participate effectively in markets and can generate substantial income. PRISM envisions the rural poor as potential entrepreneurs and customers, not charity recipients. Through PRISM, smallholders become pro-active members of a market system of private- sector enterprises, a system that includes input suppliers, smallholders, output handlers and output markets. As more smallholders and other market actors participate in this emerging market system, the market system becomes more efficient. This drives manufacturing and supply prices lower, which enables more smallholders to participate. The goal of PRISM is to provide the necessary catalysts to start this self-sustaining market system, while ensuring that participating smallholders benefit and that the natural resource base is managed for the long-term.In most countries, women and marginalized social groups are often the most disadvantaged. For this reason, PRISM provides strategies and tools to understand and address the unique opportunities, needs, and particular constraints to business survival and growth of women and other disadvantaged entrepreneurs.
Improve Water Control. IDE experience demonstrates that access to and control of water is often critical to reduce poverty because water control raises farm productivity, reduces the risk of crop failure, and enables investment in high-value crops. PRISM identifies innovative, affordable, small-plot irrigation technologies for smallholders to access, store and control water for crop irrigation. Such technologies improve water-use efficiency, reduce labor burdens and increase economic returns to the poor. PRISM also creates and strengthens small businesses that produce and sell these irrigation technologies to farmers. In addition, PRISM provides important skills and information in the use and maintenance of the irrigation equipment.
Listen and Learn. IDE responds to the unique constraints and opportunities of the rural poor by listening to, learning from and championing the needs of farm families living in poverty.
Sustainable Resource Management. The rural poor depend on the natural resource base and associated biological and environmental support systems. For this reason, PRISM promotes sustainable resource management, specifically focusing on soil, land and water resources.
Innovative and good use of technology. Market-oriented.
Working more with individuals than community.
Included an independent M&E report for better evaluation of project
A highly focused project on an critical issue – water management – of growing importance .
Is already scaled up so can have large impacts across many countries.
Is customer focused and market-driven.
On the basis of long years of positive experience it is a fine tuned program.
Didn’t find evidence of an external evaluation but despite this judged it to be an outstanding project
The strengths of PRISM include: focus on income generation involving investment of farmers’ own resources; a market-driven approach; stimulus for micro-enterprises, thereby enhancing value-chain; appropriate technology, technologies targeted at barriers to progress IDE emphasize a customer participation approach and not a ‘top down’ technology driven approach. Another strength impact, scale, efficiency. Overhead costs are very low.
Weaknesses, ensuring pumps etc will not permanently deplete water supplies; would have been desirable if one or more of the proposers was from a target country.