Photo: Powering Agriculture
Time for innovators to apply for support for agricultural solutions
The second call on "Powering Agriculture: An Energy Grand Challenge for Development" is now open for new solutions that will contribute to the use of sustainable energy in agriculture in developing countries. Innovators, entrepreneurs, institutions or organisations and companies are all invited to submit their proposals.
Together with USAID, the American development organisation, and the German government development organisation GEZ, Sida open up for new applications to the Powering Agriculture fund. The aim of the program is to find and support initiatives for market-based innovations that contribute to the use of sustainable energy in agriculture in developing countries.
“The solutions will give farmers access to sustainable energy. It could be about securing and improving the energy supply for the entire production and food chain, such as better irrigation or refrigerating solutions for milk production, says Ebba Aurell, program manager at Sida.”
This second call by Powering Agriculture invites businesses, organizations and innovators to compete for financial support of between USD 500,000 - 2,000,000 for initiatives that can meet major challenges.
“Access to energy is a crucial issue for food production in the future. According to estimates, the world will need to produce 70% more food in 2050 than today in order to meet global needs”, explains Ebba Aurell.
There are many examples of companies and organizations that work with innovation through support from Powering Agriculture. During the first call in 2013, 475 different players from 80 countries applied for funds. Eleven companies and organizations were granted aid of between USD 800,000 and 1,500,000, and activities are currently in progress in 13 countries.
“Many of the projects underway are relatively small, but we hope that they can be scaled up to improve living conditions of people in poverty”, says Ebba Aurell.
She adds that the 11 companies and organizations that have received aid from the fund so far offer innovative products and services in different areas. They include new technologies for irrigation, improved productivity in agriculture and smart solutions for cooling agricultural products in the entire food chain.
“There are also companies offering local energy solutions, such as boilers fired on biomass”, says Ebba Aurell.
The application process for the current round is divided into three steps: Firstly, a brief concept description is submitted. If the concept is approved to go further, a more detailed description of the solution in about 10 pages is submitted. From this stage a few candidates are selected who go on to provide an even more detailed description. The applications are reviewed by various technical committees.
Read about the results from the last round here.
The strategic partnership with USAID - STIP
Sida´s partnership with USAID was formulated in a Memorandum of Understanding in November 2013. In Sida t is known as STIP, which stands for Science, Technology, Innovation and Partnership. This collaboration is aimed at solving development issues through scientifically proven innovations and technology. Sida and USAID also work actively to involve more actors in the different efforts to reduce poverty more quickly.