The AICCRA Zambia Accelerator Program has selected 14 agribusiness to scale five 'bundles' of innovation that support climate-smart agriculture and climate information services in the country.
Zambian agricultural businesses face major environmental and commercial challenges. But grants that help 'de-risk' climate-smart ventures and tailor-made technical assistance programs can help address many of these challenges.
The AICCRA Zambia Accelerator Program helps Zambian agribusinesses increase their impact on the broader ecosystem that fosters climate-smart agriculture in the country.
The program works to improve investment readiness by widening farmers' access to investors and business partners.
Through the Accelerator Program, AICCRA Zambia aims to reach 300,000 Zambian farmers by the end of 2023.
AICCRA Zambia welcomed the 14 Zambian agri-SMEs to join the project as 'accelerator partners'.
They will work with CGIAR scientists, and are grouped into five different teams of agribusinesses, assigned to four different bundles of innovation that support climate-smart agriculture:
- Sustainable finance for off-grid solar irrigation
- Integrated agriculture/aquaculture systems
- Drought-tolerant seed varieties
- Diversified integrated mixed chicken/goats (legume systems)
An additional 'Best in Class' grant is awarded to the application with the strongest case for gender and social inclusion.
The winners were identified through an open call for applications on VC4A.com, the largest online community of entrepreneurs and investors dedicated to building game-changing innovations across Africa.
AICCRA Zambia identifies SMEs with a clear sustainability impact as well as the ability to disseminate climate information services at scale.
The selection of the partners was based on their proposed partnership models and evaluated under strict criteria.
On 8 February, the accelerator partners were welcomed in a full-day onboarding workshop in Lusaka, the Zambian capital. The partners present their scaling models to kick off activities that continue until the end of 2023.
Speaking at the announcement of the 12 Accelerator Partners, Hauke Dahl (Scaling Expert, CGIAR) said:
"The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the urgency with which we need to make Zambia's agriculture sector more resilient.
The AICCRA Zambia team are using science-driven innovation to improve food security, support farmers and address the critical challenges in the broader agricultural ecosystem in the country."
The selected partners, grouped by 'bundle', are as follows:
Bundle 1 | Sustainable finance for off-grid solar irrigation
Bundle 2 | Integrated agriculture/aquaculture systems
A consortium of SMEs along the fishery value chain (Hope Ways Enterprises, Triple Blessings Centre, Adsek Enterprises, Eunimos Investment and the Kasakalabwe Multicooperative Society) will promote integrated aquaculture agriculture systems through on-farm demonstration and use of socio-cultural innovations to disseminate climate information, while increasing productivity of fish farms.
Bundle 3 | Drought-tolerant seed varieties
Agova, Corteva, PlantCatalyst and iDE will work together to strengthen the climate resilience of the groundnut, maize, and soybean value chains in southern, central, and eastern Zambia by scaling climate-smart inputs and agricultural practices.
Bundle 4 | Diversified integrated mixed chicken/goats (legume systems)
AICCRA will work together with COMACO and its subsidiary, the Chitetezo Co-operative Federation, to establish a federation of 55 cooperatives that give equal opportunity to women and youth to become more profitable and food secure by adopting an agroforestry and legume-based farming system with their inherent conservation benefits.
Gender and social inclusion bundle
Better World Innovations will increase food and economic household security among females living with HIV (FLHIV), women-led households, gender-based violence survivors, and young women through dissemination climate-smart agronomic practices via an app in Central Province.
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AICCRA's Dr. Inga Jacobs-Mata is interviewed for The Editorial News