Archived Webinar

Digital Ag Series - Resilient Farmers: Investing to Overcome the Climate Crisis

"Learn about farmers’ perspectives on climate change and resilience and the new crop of agricultural platforms that are bundling digital services with physical inputs to serve smallholders."

Join Acumen, the Busara Center for Behavioral Economics, and the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) for an exciting discussion that presents farmers’ perspectives on climate change, resilience, and the new crop of agricultural platforms that are bundling digital services with physical inputs to serve smallholders. Across Africa, entrepreneurs are helping smallholder farmers become more resilient to the effects of climate change. Agribusinesses that offer multiple products and services – including financial and technology platforms, vertically integrated platforms, and land aggregators - have the potential to greatly improve climate resilience among smallholder farmers, whose dependence on rainfed agriculture makes them particularly vulnerable to variations in weather. However, these agribusinesses are early-stage social ventures with limited working capital and operate in environments with generally poor transportation and telecommunication infrastructure.

With funding from the FCDO’s Strengthening Impact Investing Markets for Agriculture Programme, pioneer impact investor Acumen, in partnership with Busara, conducted a qualitative study on the enablers and barriers to adopting climate-resilient agriculture practices among smallholder farmers. The research focused on customers of agriculture platform companies. Findings from this work are detailed in a report that amplifies the voice of smallholder farmers coping with climate change; sheds light on important considerations for agribusinesses and other stakeholders that seek to make these farmers more resilient, and helps direct investments into these businesses accordingly. Recommendations are relevant to both platform companies and investors/donors and will contribute to delivering the action agenda laid out by the Transforming Agricultural Innovation for People, Nature and Climate campaign, co-chaired by FCDO and the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture & Food Security (CCAFS), in the lead up to COP26.

About the Presenters

Parmesh Shah

Global Lead, Data-driven Digital Agriculture, Agriculture, and Food Global Practice, The World Bank

Parmesh Shah is the Global Lead for Data-Driven Digital Agriculture at the World Bank. He provides leadership to Bank’s work in these areas and supports the development of global knowledge and learning in these areas to offer solutions to clients and other development partners. His current areas of interest are making markets and public services work for the poor, social entrepreneurship, digital and data-based innovations in agriculture and rural development, climate-smart agriculture, Agriculture and technology-enabled start-ups, venture and patient capital for innovation, promotion of on-farm, off-farm, and digital jobs and public-private and people partnerships for rural poverty reduction. He is currently involved in developing a global program on scaling up data-driven digital agriculture involving data platforms and establishing ecosystems for innovation, entrepreneurship, and incubation. He holds a D Phil in Development Studies from the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and a B Tech degree in Agricultural Engineering from Pantnagar in India. 

Dr. Dan Haglund

Senior Private Sector Advisor,  Agriculture Research Team, UK FCDO 

Dr. Dan Haglund is a Senior Private Sector Advisor at the Agriculture Research Team of the FCDO’s Research and Evidence Division. He leads work streams on scaling innovative private-sector solutions for resilient food systems and harnessing technology for better impact measurement and verification – with the ultimate aim of mobilizing additional investments that deliver for people, nature, and climate. Prior to becoming a civil servant in 2015, Dan worked for a leading development consultancy for five years, and before that spent four years in investment banking. His Ph.D. looked at the mining sector policy evolution in Zambia, with a particular focus on the role of Foreign Direct Investment from China.

Dan Waldron

Head of Ideas, Acumen

Daniel Waldron is Head of Insights at Acumen, where he leads learning work from its global investment activities. Previously, Daniel Waldron led CGAP's work on the intersection of financial inclusion and development goals, primarily focused on energy access and agricultural finance. He has worked with financial services providers and government stakeholders in Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia, and has collaborated closely with numerous firms in the off-grid energy space, helping them to optimize their consumer finance and digital collection operations. Daniel has managed research projects for UNCDF at the Better Than Cash Alliance, as well as for BFA and Mastercard Foundation on the Financial Inclusion on Business Runways initiative. He also served for two years as an environmental volunteer for Peace Corps Tanzania. Daniel has a Master’s in International Affairs from The New School and an undergraduate degree from New York University. He resides in New Jersey.

Morgan Kabeer

Senior Associate, Busara Center for Behavioral Economics

Morgan is a Senior Associate at the Busara Center for Behavioral Economics in Lagos. During her two years at Busara, she has advised NGOs, impact investors, regulatory agencies, and social enterprises in East and West Africa on integrating behavioral science into their work using qualitative and quantitative research methods. The majority of her projects to date have been in family planning and reproductive health, as well as in agriculture, including agriculture technology and finance. Prior to Busara, Morgan worked in both the public and private sectors across the US and UK and spent over two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Benin. She holds a BSc in Economics from Drexel University and a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from London School of Economics, with concentrations in International Development and Economic Policy.

Dave Ellis

Co-founder and Managing Director, Flow Equity

Dave Ellis is a cofounder and managing director of Flow Equity and serves as an executive director for its portfolio businesses. Flow Equity is a US-based venture development business focused on developing the traditional, rural poultry sector in Eastern Africa. Its flagship enterprise, EthioChicken, is the market leader in Ethiopia, employing over 1,300 people and reaching over three million smallholder households annually with high yielding chicks and feed. Flow Equity is also replicating its model in Rwanda and Uganda through its business, Uzima Chicken, which has over 200 employees. Ellis started his career with Chicago-based Interfaith Youth Core and as a director of Assetmap. He graduated magna cum laude and phi beta kappa from Northwestern University with a BA in political science.

Tamer El-Raghy

Managing Director, Acumen Resilient Agriculture Fund

Tamer El-Raghy is the Managing Director of the Acumen Resilient Agriculture Fund (ARAF) -- a $58 million impact fund and the world’s first equity fund designed to build the climate resilience of smallholder farmers. Tamer has more than 20 years of private equity, venture capital, M&A, entrepreneurial, and innovation experience in Africa, the Middle East, the United States, and Europe. Prior to joining ARAF, Tamer was with responsAbility AG as head of Agri&Food PE Fund in Africa where he co-led the structuring, due diligence, and closing of transactions that impacted 35,000 smallholder farmers. Before responsAbility AG, he led Cargill’s growth strategy and M&A activities in Africa with a focus on animal nutrition, animal protein, and commodities value chains in Egypt, Morocco, Kenya, Zambia, and Ghana, impacting 50,000 smallholders. Tamer started his career as a materials engineer, where he co-invented a new class of materials, held nine patents, and founded 3-ONE-2 LLC as a joint venture, commercializing the technology for both civilian and defense applications. Tamer earned an MBA from the New York University (NYU) Stern School of Business, a Ph.D. in Materials Engineering from Drexel University, and a BSc in Metallurgical Engineering from Cairo University.

William Sutton

Global Lead for Climate-Smart Agriculture, Agriculture and Food Global Practice, The World Bank

William R. Sutton is Global Lead for Climate Smart Agriculture and Lead Agricultural Economist in the World Bank’s Agriculture & Food Global Practice. He has worked for over 25 years to promote sustainable development by integrating across sectors—including agriculture, environment, and climate change—and leading both investment and analytical projects in East Asia & the Pacific, Europe and Central Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Middle East and North Africa. Until recently, he coordinated the World Bank's climate-smart and sustainable agriculture program in China, including the preparation of the innovative Hubei Smart and Sustainable Agriculture Project. He also led studies in five Southeast Asian countries to better understand and build resilience to the El Niño Southern Oscillation in agri-food systems. He is currently the Team Leader for the GEF-financed Food Systems, Land Use, and Restoration (FOLUR) Global Platform. Dr. Sutton has authored dozens of journal articles, reports, and books, including Looking Beyond the Horizon: How Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Responses Will Reshape Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. He was awarded the World Bank Green Award in 2011 in recognition of his innovative work on climate change and agriculture.  Dr. Sutton holds a Ph.D. in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of California, Davis.

Vinay Vutukuru

Senior Agriculture Economist, Agriculture and Food Global Practice, The World Bank 

Vinay Kumar Vutukuru is a Senior Agriculture Economist at the World Bank, Kenya, based out of Nairobi. He currently anchors the Agriculture Portfolio for the World Bank in Kenya. He has previously worked in the South Asia region on Agriculture and Rural Development initiatives at the World Bank. He supported the scale-up of the Bank’s agriculture and rural development program in India at the national level and in key states like Bihar, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Jharkhand for ten years between 2009 and 2019, initially based out of Patna and then moving to Delhi. He was also on a development assignment with the India Country Management Unit working closely with the Country Director and the Operations Manager for two years on strategic management of the bank portfolio in India, including enabling linkages across different sectors and themes. Before joining the Bank, he worked in agriculture, rural development, demand-side governance, and rural safety nets with the Aga Khan Rural Support Program (AKRSP) and the Government of Andhra Pradesh.  He finished his graduate degree in Public Administration in International Development at the Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard University, and is an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.

Questions Submitted

Mohammad Nadir

- Mar 9, 2022

Mahaman Mourtala

- Dec 9, 2021

jose luis

- Nov 26, 2021
muy bueno


- Nov 20, 2021


- Oct 31, 2021


- Oct 29, 2021
Quite interesting contents.
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