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Stepwise Climate Smart Investment Pathway

Accessible best agricultural practices for everyone

The Stepwise Climate Smart Investment Pathway (Stepwise) is an approach that breaks down the recommended best practices that many farmers cannot afford to implement into smaller, more affordable packages that can be implemented in phases. Stepwise considers specific agro-ecological variables and farmer needs and aspirations to guide incremental investment by the farmer in specific sets of, and timing of practices. This incremental investment is expected to subsequently increase coffee yields in a stepwise manner.

This technology is TAAT1 validated.


Scaling readiness: idea maturity 5/9; level of use 4/9


Open source / open access


  • High Costs: For instance, a farmer might be recommended to use a specific type of fertilizer or irrigation system that is beyond their financial means. This makes it difficult for them to improve their farming practices and increase their yield.

  • Agro-ecological Variables: A farmer in a region with heavy rainfall might struggle to implement a farming practice that is designed for areas with less rainfall. This mismatch between the practice and the agro-ecological conditions can lead to poor crop performance.

  • Farmer Needs and Aspirations: A farmer might aspire to grow a new type of crop but lacks the knowledge or resources to do so. Without guidance tailored to their specific needs and aspirations, they might make investments that do not yield the desired results.

  • Low Yields: A coffee farmer, for example, might be struggling with low yields due to pests or diseases. Without the right knowledge or resources, they might not know how to effectively address these issues to improve their yield.

  • Climate Change: A smallholder farmer in a region affected by climate change might experience unpredictable rainfall patterns. Without the resources and knowledge to implement Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) practices, they might struggle to maintain their crop yield in the face of these changes. For instance, they might not know how to implement water conservation practices to cope with periods of drought.


  • Affordable Packages: For instance, instead of a farmer having to invest in a costly irrigation system all at once, the Stepwise approach might suggest starting with a smaller, more affordable drip irrigation system. As the farmer’s income increases, they can gradually upgrade their system.

  • Tailored Guidance: If a farmer is in a region with heavy rainfall, the Stepwise approach might guide them to invest in practices that are designed for such conditions, like certain types of crops or drainage systems. This reduces the risk of implementing a practice that won’t work well in their specific conditions.

  • Incremental Investments: A coffee farmer might be guided to first invest in disease-resistant coffee varieties and then, as their income increases, to invest in other practices like shade trees or organic fertilizers. This step-by-step investment can lead to a gradual increase in their coffee yields.

  • Climate Smart Agriculture: A farmer in a region affected by climate change might be guided to start by investing in drought-resistant crop varieties. As they are able to make further investments, they might be guided to implement water conservation practices or to diversify their crops to increase their resilience to climate change.

  • Farmer Empowerment: A farmer who aspires to grow a new type of crop might be guided on how to start small, perhaps by intercropping the new crop with their existing crops. As they learn and their new crop starts to generate income, they might be guided to gradually expand their cultivation of the new crop.

Key points to design your business plan

In this section, you will soon discover essential elements to develop your business plan. You'll find a brief list of important questions to consider before launching your business, along with information on the technology's value proposition, target audience, key resources, strategic partners, and cost structure. This compilation will assist you in evaluating the various crucial aspects to ensure the success of your business.

In the meantime, use the “Request information” button if you need to contact us.


Positive or neutral impact

Adults 18 and over
Positive medium
The poor
Positive low
Under 18
No impact
Positive medium

Positive or neutral impact

Climate adaptability
It adapts really well
Adaptability for farmers
It helps somewhat
It doesn't hurt them
Carbon footprint
It doesn't reduce emissions at all
It doesn't make a difference
Soil quality
It doesn't harm the soil's health and fertility
Water usage
It uses the same amount of water

Countries with a green colour
Tested & adopted
Countries with a bright green colour
Countries with a yellow colour
Egypt Equatorial Guinea Ethiopia Algeria Angola Benin Botswana Burundi Burkina Faso Democratic Republic of the Congo Djibouti Côte d’Ivoire Eritrea Gabon Gambia Ghana Guinea Guinea-Bissau Cameroon Kenya Libya Liberia Madagascar Mali Malawi Morocco Mauritania Mozambique Namibia Niger Nigeria Republic of the Congo Rwanda Zambia Senegal Sierra Leone Zimbabwe Somalia South Sudan Sudan South Africa Eswatini Tanzania Togo Tunisia Chad Uganda Western Sahara Central African Republic Lesotho
Countries where the technology has been tested and adopted
Country Tested Adopted
Ghana Tested Adopted
Uganda Tested Adopted

This technology can be used in the colored agro-ecological zones. Any zones shown in white are not suitable for this technology.

Agro-ecological zones where this technology can be used
AEZ Subtropic - warm Subtropic - cool Tropic - warm Tropic - cool

Source: HarvestChoice/IFPRI 2009

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals that are applicable to this technology.

Sustainable Development Goal 2: zero hunger
Goal 2: zero hunger
Sustainable Development Goal 8: decent work and economic growth
Goal 8: decent work and economic growth
Sustainable Development Goal 10: reduced inequalities
Goal 10: reduced inequalities
Sustainable Development Goal 15: life on land
Goal 15: life on land

  1. Identification of Recommended Best Practices: Identify the recommended best practices that are often unaffordable for many farmers to implement. 
  2. Breaking Down into Smaller, Affordable Packages: Deconstruct these practices into smaller, more manageable and cost-effective packages.
  3. Phased Implementation Strategy: Design a phased implementation plan to incorporate these smaller packages in stages.
  4. Assessment of Agro-Ecological Variables and Farmer Needs: Consider specific agro-ecological variables and the needs of the farmers.
  5. Guiding Incremental Investment: Guide farmers on incremental investment in specific sets of practices according to their requirements and the timing of implementation.
  6. Informing Smallholder Farmers: Provide information to smallholder farmers regarding the most efficient incremental investments needed to improve coffee yields and enhance their livelihoods.
  7. Increasing Awareness and Knowledge: Increase awareness and knowledge about climate-smart agricultural practices, contributing to the resilience of smallholder farmers.
  8. Informing Public and Private Sectors: Inform both public and private sectors about more effective strategies for targeting extension support to smallholder coffee farmers.

Last updated on 22 May 2024