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CGIAR looking to finance climate-smart agribusiness applicants in East & Southern Africa

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The world’s leading agriculture innovation network CGIAR, through its Food Systems Accelerator (CFSA) program, is looking to finance and bring to scale agribusinesses that offer agricultural and climate-smart innovations that tackle food insecurity and increase resilience in the East and Southern Africa region. 

For the 2024 cohort, the CFSA will be partnering with the Agroecology Initiative to support agribusinesses in Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, United Republic of, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe to embrace sustainable and eco-friendly agricultural practices. 

Supported innovations should be designed to benefit smallholder farmers in East and Southern Africa. Attention will be given to business models focusing on aquaculture, pulses, horticulture, poultry, and small grain value chains, as well as those that promote agro-processing, provide aggregation services, or apply agroecological principles at any level of the business. Women and youth-owned companies are encouraged to apply.

The four priority innovation themes are:

  1. Mechanization and irrigation
  2. Conservation agriculture
  3. Nutrition-sensitive climate-smart agriculture
  4. Agricultural Risk Management (ARM)
What will be offered to selected participants?
  1. CSA Technical Assistance: through this program, each agribusiness will collaborate with CGIAR scientists and experts to receive coordinated and specialized evidence-based technical support that encourages adoption and strengthens their CSA practices, addresses concrete ecosystem challenges, and improves their bankability. Agribusinesses may also have access to research and data.
  2. Impact Measurement and Management (IMM): Agribusiness teams will receive training on how to effectively measure and manage impact on climate-smart agriculture and agroecology, use their data to improve business performance, identify areas where value can be created and achieve their desired result in contributing towards positive environmental and social impact. This training will be provided by the CGIAR network of scientists and experts.
  3. Investment Readiness: Each agribusiness will collaborate with a CGIAR partner and its network to receive investment readiness and business development support to help secure financing from the private sector.
  4. De-risking Grant: Upon successful completion of the accelerator program and Pitch Day, the winning pitches will receive de-risking grants of USD 20,000, USD 18,000, and USD 12,000, respectively, based on their scaling plans.
  5. Access to our network of investors to attract follow-on funding in grants, debt, and equity according to funding needs.
Eligibility criteria

The business should be officially registered and compliant with regulatory authorities. It should have:

  1. Certificate of Incorporation for a Limited Company or Partnership Deed for a Partnership Business.
  2. 2 years audited accounts for growth stage companies OR 2-year management accounts for early-stage companies.
  3. At least 2 contact details of the company’s references.

Team composition.

  1. Curriculum Vitae for management team.
  2. Tax Compliance certificate OR official documentation for tax exemption.
  3. A clear inclusive strategy for smallholder farmers, women, and youth within the business model in at least one of the following dimensions: ownership, management team, workforce and policies, supply chain and customers.
  4. Applicants must be a for-profit company and demonstrate commercial viability and either be profitable or on the path to profitability. NGOs, corporate companies, and consultants will not be considered.
  5. Operating in the following countries: Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, or Zimbabwe.
  • Application period dates: 27th November 2023 and deadline 8 January 2024.
  • Selection period: 15th January to 16rd February 2023.
  • Kick-off event: 25th to 27th March 2024.
  • Technical assistance: 1 April 2023 to 30 September 2024.
  • Pitch Day and announcement of grant recipients: October 2024.

Apply here

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