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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.
The development of the agricultural and food sector is of central importance in order to satisfy the growing demand for agricultural products by a continuously growing world population and the need to create more jobs in rural areas. Yet, many countries lack the innovations needed to achieve a sustainable increase in production.
For its innovation component, the global project "Funds for Agricultural Policy Advice and Innovation (FABI)" has set itself the goal to apply instruments successfully to promote innovation in the agricultural and food sector. In order to achieve this, innovations are identified, promoted and receive support in their dissemination.
Small-scale farmers and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in the agricultural and food sector in partner countries of the German development cooperation.
March 2019 until September 2023
9 million euros
At the end, more than 1,000 people from Africa and Southeast Asia took the time to submit their ideas and participated in the Innovation Challenge. Out of the competition’s three categories, "digitalisation" was particularly popular accounting for around 42% of the applications, followed by "mechanisation" (33%) and "renewable energies" (25%).
Furthermore, 68 % of the applicants are under the age of 35. The Innovation Challenge thus managed to achieve its goal of targeting young people and offering them the opportunity to actively contribute to development cooperation by providing their local solutions. Equally, 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 drawing special attention to female 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 a greater lack of access to internet as well as the promotion and financial support as entrepreneurs, as compared to men. Promoting their representation is an important step towards increasing the participation of women in the shaping of the agricultural sector and further integrating them into innovation processes.
Around two thirds of the applicants are young adults under 35 years of age. Around 200 applications are from women.
The origin of the participants reflects the wide range of GIZ partner countries in Asia and Africa as 74 contributions come from South and Southeast Asian countries and 37 from North Africa. However, with the submission of 936 innovative ideas, applications from sub-Saharan Africa clearly dominated. In total, applications were received from 44 countries.
The AIF is currently in the final stages of evaluating all applications and determining the five finalists in the three categories. The total of 15 finalists will have the opportunity to present their ideas to an international jury of experts at a public online event in October and win a sponsorship package worth up to 50,000 euros.
Details about the finalists and their ideas as well as the jury will be the subject of our next AIF article here on this page.