To spur the development of innovative technologies to reduce food loss and waste in Africa, the Inter Region Economic Network, or IREN, is conducting the inaugural East Africa Postharvest Technologies Competition 2017 through a grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development’s, or USAID’s, East Africa Trade and Investment Hub. The call for applications is now open.
Reducing food loss and waste is essential for improved nutrition and food security. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that one third (1.3 billion metric tons) of the food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted along global supply chains. This accounts for a 15 percent income reduction for over 470 million participants in the agricultural value chain, including smallholder farmers, manufacturers and retailers.
The competition calls on innovators from across the East African Community to pitch technologies that address challenges in the post-harvest management of food-crop commodities and enhance labor production. The competition will offer the top 25 participants an opportunity to showcase and pitch their ideas to potential partners, including development partners, donors, governments, farmer and trader associations, and investors.
The competition will take place in May 2017 during a special session of the upcoming East Africa Postharvest Technologies Fair. The top three contestants will split a seed fund of $30,000 USD through a generous contribution of agribusiness corporation Syngenta and other partners.
Innovators, researchers and individuals aged 18 and above from the East African member countries — Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi — are welcome to apply. Successful applicants will receive accelerated training on how to package and pitch their ideas to investors, which will expand the opportunity to scale-up and disseminate their technologies to a wider market. Application forms, competition guidelines, and awards information are available on the competition website, www.younginnovatorsinagribusiness.com, or email profiles to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We are very delighted to host this exciting new competition and would like to invite all post-harvest technology innovators from all East African countries to enter this game-changing competition,” said James Shikwati, the Inter Region Economic Network’s Chief Executive Officer.
“Finding innovative solutions to complex development challenges is paramount to USAID’s mission,” said USAID Mission Director for Kenya and East Africa Karen Freeman. “The East Africa Post Harvest Technologies Competition 2017 supports locally driven solutions for greater East African food security. We are proud to be the sponsors of this competition."