Renewable energy, agriculture value and entrepreneurship: Barriers, opportunities, and policy implications
Small-scale, off-grid, low-carbon technologies are promising new mechanisms that drive agricultural value addition and deliver on development, equity and climate goals in low and middle-income countries. However, evidence on factors that enhance local demand for these technologies is scant. Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in the agricultural sector seeking to take advantage of low-carbon energy transition opportunities face many challenges, including lack of knowledge or access to climate-smart technologies. Further, the agricultural sector in developing economies struggles to find opportunities for value addition with sufficient returns all along the value chain.
The research will analyze the levers of a green energy transition through agricultural MSMEs’ pursuit of climate adaptation strategies in four low and middle-income countries. The methodology includes a multi-phase diagnose-design-test approach to increase the impact of evaluations of the potential role of local enterprises in driving a clean-energy transition in agricultural value chains. It combines a focus on identifying locally tailored and inclusive policy solutions and deploying rigorous impact evaluation and experimental or quasi-experimental methods to understand the barriers to an inclusive, enterprise-led decarbonization of agriculture. This includes establishing each country’s key challenges in adopting renewable energy-based agri-tech solutions, the social inclusion potential of the technologies and the likely scalability of the technologies. Emphasis will be on producing evidence on the impacts of adopting and using renewable energy based agri-tech innovations in terms of empowering women, youth and marginalized segments of the rural population.
The project will generate evidence-based policy recommendations on best practices for overcoming barriers to resilience and adapting MSMEs to climate change. These recommendations include context-specific solutions for leveraging low-carbon agriculture in MSMEs as drivers of resilience and adaptation to climate shocks; enhancing women and youth’s inclusion in low-carbon agricultural value chains; and leveraging adaptation and mitigation finance to end girls’ participation in household activities that interfere with