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: January 2023
Competition Participation
100 & Change logo
Food security
Current Work Location(s):
  • Honduras
  • Zimbabwe
  • Kenya
  • Tanzania
  • Zambia
Priority Population(s):
  • Economically disadvantaged people
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
  • 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
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.


In FY15, we set a Global Impact Goal of supporting four million families to reach a living income by 2020. At the end of FY20, we reported progress, supporting 2.7 million families to close the living income gap. A living income is a standard we consider critical to enable rural families to generate income to move out of poverty, reach a level of resilience to withstand unforeseen economic shocks, and achieve a decent, dignified standard of living. This past year we learned many lessons; the key among them was that the number of families we were able to support to close the living income gap was smaller than anticipated, largely due to COVID-19 restrictions and related market disruptions. Building on knowledge gleaned from this past year and our investments in farmer-focused infrastructure, we set a new goal to support 10 million families to reach a living income by 2030.

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