UNCDF Agritech Challenge 2021 open for innovative Agritech solutions

The United Nations Capital Development Fund has partnered with Atal Innovation Mission, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Rabo Foundation to launch the Agritech Challenge 2021. This should address issues faced by smallholder farmers around climate change, productivity, and supply chains. The same applies to working alongside international partners Bayer and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

Preeti Sinha, the UNCDF Executive Secretary said that UNCDF would support innovative solutions, particularly those involving small-holder farmers in last-mile markets. She described the digital transformation as a “ key enabler for driving recovery and resilience.”

According to FAO agriculture employs over a billion people worldwide. Over 50% of SMEs in emerging economies are also agriculture-oriented. The bulk of people employed by the sector are smallholder farmers owning less than 2 hectares of land – yet they make up 82% of the total agricultural landholding. The stats further show that 50% of this land is in low and middle-income countries.

FAO numbers show 130 million people are at risk of severe acute food shortages – and this was before the pandemic. WFP estimates that those at risk of food insecurity in 2020-2021 are around 272 million. This challenge will see UNCDF launch cross-border collaborations among the emerging markets of Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Malaysia, India, and Indonesia.

Participants at the Agritech Challenge will gain access to industry-market linkages, investors, and mentors who will offer help in scaling to their desired markets. The challenge will help them build their test solution for the new markets.

For a startup to meet the eligibility criteria, it must be registered within the participating countries and be 2 years into operation. It must have $150,000 in ARR within the past 2 years or an average of $100,000 AAR in the past 3 years. Finally, it must have a live solution and a user base (in the post-testing phase).

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