By Daniel Essiet
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is offering $1.5 million grants for smart farming innovations.
The foundation is seeking innovative digital solutions with potential to drive positive impact for smallholder farmer entrepreneurs.
The agritech solutions will be delivered through bundled farmer services, enabled by scalable digital and data platforms.
The grants, the foundation noted, are focused on ICTforAg solutions in Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Nigeria, India, and Bangladesh.
The foundation said there are two grant funding opportunists – Seed Grants and Scale-Up Grants. Applicants can only apply for one.
The $250,000 grants are for Smart Farming solutions that can demonstrate potential in meeting the following criteria within 12 months: Leveraging digital technology innovations with the potential to scale, show potential to improve incomes, productivity and ability to adapt to climate change;Address barriers to scaled adoption of digital services: access, affordability, language and digital literacy have the hpotential to be bundled with multiple farmer-facing services into an integrated solutionand are enabled by robust digital and data technology platforms and services.
The $1.5 million Scale-Up Grants are for smart farming solutions with demonstrated evidence of positive impact within 24 months.
In addition to seed grant criteria, Scale-Up Grants must also leverage digital technology innovations with demonstrated readiness to scale and proven ability to bundle with other services, be a scalable platform with sustainable bundled service delivery models and demonstrate value capture by farmers or other value chain actors over the long term.