Smallholder poor farmers face many problems. Low soil fertility and lack of access to quality inputs along with salinated and water logged soil contribute to low yield, production risks and natural resource degradation. Inadequate infrastructure, land tenure biased against the poor, under developed markets, and lack of access to credit and technical assistance add impediments.
IDEI based itself on the premise that if water related constraints, the key constraints for smallholder farmers will be removed, there will be year round irrigation and therefore agricultural production and an increase in income. Experience revealed that this assumption is correct however not completely. While all farmers generated similar base figure annually with the use of IDEI promoted technologies, there are others who generate much more than this income. Studies conducted revealed that high earning families are those who are self sufficient in their staple food crops and also have been able to overcome the barriers, ie the market constraints after the water constraints. They were able to enhance their participation by purchasing right inputs, making effective use of technical knowledge and market information, and developing stable linkages to output markets.
In order to create conditions necessary for a large number of rural poor to work their way out of poverty, IDEI moved beyond technology and adopted the Sustainable Agricultural Approach. Through this IDEI aims at addressing few of the several challenges from the input to the output stage.
The programme includes the following components: