Innovation Challenge 2021 - Advisory for Agroecology

Innovation Challenge 2021



Integrating agroecological approaches into agricultural advisory services

This challenge aims to identify and promote new and innovative concepts, ideas, and tools in agricultural advisory that have the potential to spread agroecological approaches widely.


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 and have therefore often been unsuccessful in reaching farming communities at a larger scale.

Special focus

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 digitalization of agriculture bring about 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, such as in the face of the current Corona pandemic, in which agricultural advisory services have limited opportunities to reach out physically to smallholder farmers.

What we offer

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 integrating agroecological approaches into agricultural advisory services.

Who is eligible?

The Innovation Challenge is open to consortia of public, private and non-profit organizations with long-term experiences in agricultural extension and advisory (incl. universities, research institutions, NGOs, farmers associations, public and private extension 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.

Selection process

Pre-selected consortia will have the opportunity to present their proposal and innovative ideas in the form of 15 minutes online pitches to the selection jury. The six top-ranked consortia will be awarded 50,000 Euros for a five-months 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 the 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

How to apply?

We look forward to receiving your application and learning more about your ideas to make agricultural advisory services work for the scaling of complex and knowledge-based agricultural innovations towards resilient and sustainable smallholder farming systems!


Applications can be submitted as .pdf-file via Email ( at the latest by 31 May 2021 using the attached Application Form. 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.

Who we are?

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).