Innovation for Sustainable Agriculture

Join the Cultiv@te program to bring innovation and technology where it is most needed, combining globally-leading innovation with local knowledge, expertise and market insights.

Calling for applications from Startups and R&D teams across the world

Innovation for Sustainable Agriculture

In 2050 the world will need to sustain some nine billion people, requiring an increase in food production by about 70%. At the same time, climate change further strains our ever-depleting natural resources, increasing the vulnerability of the highly resource-dependent agricultural sector. The sustainability of global food production will depend on our ability to innovate and become much more climate-resilient.

Much of the global production of food relies on smallholder farmers who often lack access to adequate and affordable production technology, timely and accurate information that helps them manage their farm, insurance products that mitigate risk as well as sources of finance to invest in their business. These are some of many tech and innovation entry points which in 2018 alone attracted venture capital investments to the tune of USD 16.9 billion globally to AgriFood Tech startups, a 43% year-over-year increase.
Getting innovators, investors and corporates focused on the most pressing challenges in agriculture, generating inclusive livelihoods across the agri-food value-chain and adopting sustainable practices present a tremendous opportunity that you should not miss out on.

The Cultiv@te initiative brings together a coalition of partners and stakeholders that want to bring technology and innovation where it is most needed, combining globally-leading innovation with local knowledge, expertise and market insights. We will be working with 13 client countries around the world and we are looking for you to join us!

Cultiv@te Challenges


More than half of the world’s population lives in cities today. As we consider alternative sources of food and move our production system towards sustainability, we need to rethink food production in cities. 


More than 75% of the world's agriculture depends on rainfall. Climate change and its effects have had (and will have) tremendous impact on production, impacting food security and livelihoods. 


Livestock farming accounts for the food security and livelihoods of almost 1.3 billion people. It is the most environmentally-damaging agriculture sub-sector, as the largest user of land and freshwater resources and significant greenhouse gas emitter. Aquaculture, with its specific challenges around fish feed and freshwater supply, accounts for nearly 50 percent of the world's food fish. 

The Solution Clients 

Urban Agriculture

How can we effectively manage pest and disease outbreaks in urban farms to produce safe food, with minimal impact on humans and the environment?
How might we increase agricultural productivity by introducing innovative technologies for farming and improving post-harvest handling technologies, and ensure that high quality, safe food is delivered to an urban population?
How might we engage youth in agricultural development by applying modern farming techniques and creating viable agricultural business models?
How might we integrate urban agriculture into public housing programmes?

Rainfed Agriculture

How might we boost agricultural productivity, and raise value added production in a sustainable way, in a post-conflict region?
How might we increase agricultural productivity to meet food security targets while ensuring net zero deforestation in Gabon?
How might we increase the productivity of agriculture and food systems through the application of climate resilient technologies and methods?
How might we maximise the full potential of agriculture through improving agricultural practices, and ensuring that farmers have better access to credit, amidst the impacts of climate change?
How might we increase farmers’ income through investing in climate resistant crops, ensuring better access to irrigation, and improving access to transportation?

Livestock Farming and Aquaculture

How might we ensure the fair and sustainable use of pastures through investing in a digital land management system?
How might we use digital technologies to introduce the best husbandry practices, and improve farmers' access to its inputs and markets? 
How might we increase the productivity of livestock and dairy sectors, and improve the quality of its final products, in a forested area?
How might we increase safe fish production by maximising production per cubic meter of water, and manage its generated waste sustainably?

Application Process


Programme Milestones 

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3


Admission into Programme

April 24, 2020
- 26 teams selected (2 per country) 
- Official introduction into Cultiv@te and to the UNDP team


Country Visits

Mid-2020, 13 locations
12-days trip to countries, including: 
Visit to UNDP and FAO office with presentation on project (relevant to Cultiv@te challenge statement) 
Visit to UNDP field sites
Introductions to local ecosystem partners (e.g. Ministries, farmer associations, startup/innovation institutions etc.)
- Workshops


Global Gathering: Capstone Event of Cultiv@te

November 2020, Singapore
3-days demo day to present ideas and solutions to corporates and potential investors, including:
Summary of programme thus far
- Presentation of country-visits outtakes
Pitches/presentations by teams
- Prize awarding

Image credits (by order of appearance):
UNDP Vietnam, UNDP Uganda, Jatuphon Buraphon for main banner
UNDP Afghanistan/S. Omer Sadaat
UNDP Peru / Monica Suarez
UNDP Climate Change Adaption Cook Islands
UNDP India / Dhiraj Singh