UNCDF makes public and private finance work for the poor in the world’s 46 least developed countries. With its capital mandate and instruments, UNCDF offers “last mile” finance models that unlock public and private resources, especially at the domestic level, to reduce poverty and support local economic development.
Asia and Africa combined comprise over 75% of the world’s total population, over 90% of the extreme low-income population, and house 42 of the 46 least developed countries. At the same time, these two regions have also been witnessing unprecedented economic development, which is helping many people come out of the poverty cycle.
Yet, there are various shared challenges that the low to moderate income community continues to face. This community remains vulnerable across key developmental sectors and a range of segments, including smallholder farmers, who are a significant stakeholder in the Agriculture sector, which is a critical sector for emerging economies across Asia and Africa.
A crucial common challenge for smallholder farmers is to improve their individual & household financial health, which enables them to have better financial security, control and freedom. The following key challenges have been identified for smallholder farmers:
Low Productivity – Access to new technology and innovations
Climate Risk – Resilience against climate change and natural hazards
Several countries in these regions have been addressing these challenges through innovative use of technology to create adaptable solutions for smallholder farmers.
The importance of these solutions cannot be more pertinent than during the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic, which has put the financial health of smallholder farmers at stake even if there is access to financial services. This demonstrates the vital need for avenues to identify and support innovative solutions to positively impact smallholder farmers in Asia and Africa.
The UNCDF Agritech Challenge will enable potential improvement in financial health by inviting applications from innovators to help co-create and/or adapt their solutions for smallholders farmers in the following seven countries: Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Zambia in Africa and India, Indonesia, Malaysia in Asia.
This Programme invites applications from start-ups with solutions that are addressing at least one of the three above mentioned challenges and are interested to pilot their solution in one of the seven participating countries. For eligibility criteria, please refer Sec 4.1 of the Expression of Interest document, available for download on the right side of this page.
All applicants will go through an evaluation process, at the end of which, 20 applicants will be selected to form the cohort (also referred to as ‘participants’) of the Programme.
The UNCDF Global Centre of Financial Health is the anchor of this programme.