Agriculture is still one of the most important employment sectors worldwide. Furthermore, without it we all would not exist: Everybody needs to eat. There is a lot of potentials to enhance agriculture though, particularly for small-scale farmers who are many times not able to meet their own needs. Many NGOs are working in this important field to help communities to overcome poverty and underdevelopment. At the same time, agriculture is the field where development cooperation had its most spectacular failures. More than one ecological disaster has been enhanced or even created by well-meaning projects. In this article, we give you six tips for your proposal in the agricultural sector to convince your donor that your proposal only has positive outcomes and should be a winning one.
Think about sustainability
Sustainability has become a buzzword in the last decade, as more and more people realize how important it is to think in the long run. This is particularly important when it comes to agriculture. Projects need to be sustainable, for the communities as well as for the environment. Make sure that it is clear in your proposal, that you thought about the issue of sustainability and have made a good plan for it.
Consider cross-cutting themes
Agriculture is an area that is closely tied to many others. It touches on many cross-cutting themes. When people do not have enough nutritious food to eat, their health is affected. When farmers do not make enough money, children cannot go to school. Makes sure you know all the interconnections and point them out in your proposal to show the various positive effects your project will have on the entire community.
Work with scientific backup
Especially in the agricultural sector, there is a lot of research going on to make sure processes, products, and techniques are further developed. Make sure you are always up to date and use the newest scientific data and case studies to back up your claims in your proposal. This way you show the donor that you are an expert in your field and that you know what you are doing,
Don´t forget the sustainable development goals
The sustainable development goal number two states that there should be zero hunger by the year 2030. Food insecurity can only be overcome with better agriculture, so make sure to draw this connection in your proposal. There are also other SDGs that you can mention, like the first one (end poverty) or the third one (good health and well-being).
Work with your beneficiaries
While you should consider the newest scientific results when planning your project, you should also take into consideration the local knowledge the beneficiaries have. Make sure to include them in every stage of the planning and implementation process, so you can achieve the best mix of modern technology and traditional and locally appropriate techniques. Consider using participatory methods like the Rapid Rural Appraisal or Participatory Learning and Action to make sure you work with every stakeholder.
Consider risks and assumptions
You should have a close look at risks and assumptions in every proposal, but this becomes particularly important in the context of agricultural projects. If you introduce a new crop or a new technique, this can have profound impacts on the ecosystem. New tilling machines can cause severe soil erosion if they are not apt for the region. Make sure the donor understands that you took all of this into consideration and how you reach your conclusions.
Best of luck with your proposal!