Soil to Space: Leveraging Water to Bridge the Food Gap

Heifer Project International

Heifer International with Columbia University will leverage satellite imaging to identify appropriate water interventions, and farm-to-market integration allowing smallholders' contribution towards closing the food gap.

Last Updated: November 2023
Competition Participation
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food security-child
  • Honduras
  • Kenya
  • Tanzania
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe
  • Economically disadvantaged people
  • 1. No poverty
  • 2. Zero hunger
  • 13. Climate action

Executive Summary

By 2050, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization estimates the world will face a 20,500 trillion calorie deficit, which requires a 56-percent increase in global food production from 2010, to meet the Zero Hunger Sustainable Development Goal. Smallholder farmers, each of whom controls 10 hectares—24.7 acres—or less, currently produce up to 80 percent of the world’s food. Based on academic consensus, efficiently using available water, with improved farm management, has the potential to triple farm production across countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and Central America.

Heifer’s proven community-empowering, private sector-driven platform for socio-economic development and integrated water resource management plays a vital role. It will leverage Columbia University’s expertise in integrated agricultural and water research systems to help marginalized smallholders in nine countries establish resilience to bridge the food gap. The proposed solution will reach the most marginalized people through three components: soil-to-space, which connects crop management and satellite imagery; farm-to-market, which builds healthy food value chains; and today-into-the-future, which passes on resilient and sustainable solutions.

Organization Details
Lead Organization

Heifer Project International

Organization Headquarters
Pulaski County, Arkansas, United States of America
Organization ID
Number of Full-time Employees
501 to 1,000
Annual Operating Budget
$100.1 to 500 Million

Charity, fund, non-governmental organization, religious institution, school, or other entity

Organizations may provide budget and employee data based on this proposal or the organization as a whole. For more information on this proposal or organization, please email us.


Since developing the Soil to Space project, Heifer International has more intentionally focused on water and its vital role in bridging the food gap in each of our projects. Two years ago, we developed a Power, Water, Internet focus at our global office. This focus forged a new way of strategic thinking within Heifer about achieving scale - and affordability at scale - in essential infrastructure. In 2023, as we shift operations to a Sustainable Locally-Led Development approach, we are taking a localized, partnership-driven approach to infrastructure work that will be managed by country teams, who in turn will leverage the technical and implementation expertise of specialist partners to create effective and nuanced water solutions. This approach will guide us to reaching our goal of assisting 10 million farming families to reach a sustainable living income by 2030.

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