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Achieving a world without hunger by 2030 requires targeted support to make agricultural production more resilient and more sustainable for millions of smallholder farmers in the Global South. Agroecological farm- and crop-management approaches have been proven to provide a wide range of both ecological and economic long-term benefits for smallholder livelihoods.
However, their adoption and use by smallholder farmers require intensive training, participation and co-creation of knowledge through involvement of various actors. Consequently, they have often been unsuccessful in reaching farming communities at a larger scale.
Women play a key role in promoting agroecological change. However, they are often neglected by input focused, top-down and male-dominated agricultural advisory services. Advances in the digitalisation of agriculture bring new opportunities for sharing complex and context-specific knowledge and for making agricultural advisory services more participatory and integrative. This becomes especially relevant in challenging times, as in the current Corona pandemic, when agricultural advisory services have limited opportunities to reach out physically to smallholder farmers.
Against this background, GIZ’s Innovation Challenge 2021 aims to support Innovation Partnerships with awards of up to 150,000 Euros to be used for testing and validating new innovative concepts and ideas that integrate agroecological approaches into agricultural advisory services.
About the Innovation Challenge
The Innovation Challenge 2021 is conducted by the GIZ global project “Agricultural Policy and Innovation Fund (FABI)”. For its innovation component, FABI has set itself the goal to apply instruments successfully to promote innovation in the agricultural and food sector. In order to achieve this goal, innovations are identified, promoted and receive support in their dissemination. FABI is commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
The Innovation Challenge is open to consortia of public, private and non-profit organizations with long-term experiences in agricultural extension and advisory (including universities, research institutions, NGOs, farmers associations, public and private extension and advisory services, start-ups, and SMEs). Consortia must be represented by an international institution as the main applicant. A strong private-partner involvement and engagement is a further prerequisite.
All applications must adhere to the Conditions for Participation. Only applications which include all requested information and a letter of intent by all consortium members will be considered for evaluation. The Innovation Challenge 2021 will be conducted in English.
Selection process and prizes
Pre-selected consortia will have the opportunity to present their proposal and innovative ideas in the form of 15-minute online pitches to the selection jury. The six top-ranked consortia will be awarded 50,000 Euros for a five-month period to refine and further develop the initial concept (proof of concept). Out of the six consortia, the three consortia with the most promising concepts will be finally awarded additional 100.000 Euros for a one-year Innovation Partnership. For Innovation Partnerships that prove to be particularly successful there will be an opportunity to receive additional funding in the future.
- Deadline for submission: 31 May 2021
- First selection (six consortia): June - July 2021
- Proof of concept: September 2021 - January 2022
- Second selection (three consortia): February 2022
- Implementation: April 2022 - March 2023