The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on Monday April 12, 2021 launched a COVID-19 Food Security Challenge that will provide $3 million in grant funding and technical assistance to youth-led and mid-stage companies working in the food value chains in Nigeria.
In a statement, the agency said it recognized that Nigeria is experiencing food insecurity, which is compounded by the new global coronavirus pandemic and its effects on the food value chain.
It noted that the pandemic has disrupted agricultural value chains, especially smallholder farmers’ ability to produce, process, and distribute food.
“This disrupts agricultural productivity and markets, and negatively impacts livelihoods, especially among vulnerable households, women, and youths.
“We are launching the COVID-19 Food Security Challenge to help innovative Nigerians alleviate food insecurity,” USAID Mission Director, Anne Patterson, said.
In launching the Challenge, USAID seeks commercially viable youth-led and mid-stage companies already working in food production, processing, and distribution.
Successful applicants are expected to present ideas that demonstrably help farmers and other stakeholders in the agricultural value chain increase agricultural productivity and food security within the next six months.
The Challenge will award 15 to 25 youth-led companies up to $75,000 each and award 10 to15 mid-stage companies up to $150,000 each.
Winners will receive funding and technical assistance to rapidly expand their activities to mitigate the effect of COVID-19 on Nigeria’s food value chain and improve the resilience of vulnerable households to the negative impacts of the pandemic.