Innovation Challenge - Finale

The finale of the Innovation Challenge is coming soon. Be there when the 15 best candidates from over 1,000 applicants present their ideas to a world-class international jury. Find out who will win funding packages worth a total value of EUR 240,000!

The Idea behind the Challenge

In March and April 2020, the GIZ Agricultural Innovation Fund (AIF) published the call for its "Innovation Challenge 2020" on behalf of the BMZ. The aim of this competition is to find and promote innovative local ideas in GIZ partner countries that contribute to a more efficient and sustainable agricultural sector along the entire value chain. In the end, more than 1,000 people from Africa and Southeast Asia submitted their ideas and participated in the Innovation Challenge.


’With the Innovation Challenge, we want to take a different approach to actively integrate people with innovative ideas from our partner countries in our developmental collaboration efforts.’

Sebastian Lesch, BMZ

Furthermore, 68 % of the applicants are under the age of 35. The Innovation Challenge thus managed to achieve its goal of targeting young people, offering them the opportunity to actively contribute to development cooperation by providing their local solutions. At the same time, the competition also focused on the participation of women. In order to address the general need to increase female representation in such innovation competitions, the GIZ Innovation Challenge was promoted by paying special attention to women´s online groups. This resulted in a total of 200 innovative ideas that were submitted by women. These numbers are particularly pleasing, given the fact that women still face greater challenges with regards to accessing internet as well as promotion and financial support as entrepreneurs, compared to men.


Watch the Event here on October 27 at 1.30 p.m.

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Passwort: Challenge2020

Course of the finale

As presented in our previous blog articles,  the candidates have submitted applications addressing three key areas in which innovation is needed for the future of the agri-food sector: Renewable Energies, Digitalization and Mechanization. In each of these areas, the top 5 innovations were selected that are not only economically viable but will also contribute considerably towards realizing the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular SDG2 #nohunger!


The finalists are from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Ghana, Morocco, Nepal, Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Tunisia and Zimbabwe.



In the area of Digitalization, we have several finalists who have developed ingenious apps that have the potential to raise farmers’ incomes across Africa and Asia. In Tunisia, one finalist has combined her skills in technology with her passion for the dairy sector by creating an app that allows dairy farmers to monitor the health of their cattle simply by taking pictures using their mobile phones. One Nigerian finalist’s innovation, on the other hand, makes use of already widely-used instant messaging apps to connect farmers to precision agriculture solutions, such as drones for seed planting and disease monitoring.  


Renewable Energies

In Renewable Energies, we will hear pitches from diverse and innovative minds from across Asia and Africa. For example, one initiative from Bangladesh has developed an innovation that contributes in manifold ways to a more sustainable future in the agri-food sector. This initiative’s low-cost cooking stoves are more fuel efficient than conventionally used stoves in rural Bangladesh and capture carbon into biochar – a valuable fertilizer. From the African continent, we also have several brilliant innovators presenting their innovations in renewable energies. For example, finalists from Kenya and Morocco, who have pioneered the development of a solar-powered dryer to reduce post-harvest waste and a magnetic power generator aimed at nomads and farmers.



Mechanization in agriculture is vital to raising yields and thereby combating poverty and hunger in rural areas; our finalists in this area have developed locally adapted innovations which will contribute to broadening access to mechanization for smallholders. In Tanzania, for example, one finalist has engineered a portable multi-crop thresher, which is light enough to be transported by motorbike, enabling the owner to lease out their machine to farmers even in remote areas. Another finalist from India has engineered an affordable multi-purpose machine for rice cultivation, which aims to raise the incomes of small paddy farmers throughout the subcontinent.

Further Publication on the Innovation Challenge

Promoting agricultural innovations: 1,000 ideas for a world without hunger

Article on the course of the Innovation Challenge, published in June 2020.

Find out more

Ideas on the ground: Local solutions for global challenges

A conversation with BMZ Head of Division Sebastian Lesch on the Innovation Challenge programme of the new Agricultural Innovation Fund.

Find out more