Grand Challenge has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for ‘Smart Farming Innovations for Small-Scale Producers’ calling for the latest digital technology solutions for the farming sector. Grand Challenges (GC) is a family of initiatives fostering innovation to solve key global health and development problems.
Applications for the RFP opened in October 19, 2020 and the deadline is February 25, 2021. According to the RFP’s documents, the primary aim of the request is to “leverage digital technology innovations that have the potential to drive positive impact for small-scale producer (SSP) entrepreneurs”. This should be “delivered through bundled farmer services and enabled by scalable digital and data platforms”.
Solutions should demonstrate their capability to address one or more challenges faced by small-scale crop and livestock producers. These could include one or more areas of agricultural advisory, farm management decision support, input supply, finance, insurance, market access and linkages.
In addition, solutions should also use human-centred design to highlight the barriers that prevent SSPs from improving productivity, profitability and income. Once the barriers have been identified, the solutions should then propose ‘smart farming’ solutions that can help elevate small-scale production entrepreneurs.
Some of the fundamental and common challenges to address include, among others:
1) low productivity driven by lack of access to information and services; climate change, weather variability and pest and disease outbreaks;
2) lack of access to tailored financial and insurance products, and
3) lack of access to and choice of market and off take options.
Furthermore, solutions will need to consider some of the factors that hinder adoption of digital farmer services. These could range from low language and digital literacy to the high relative cost of services and devices. In particular, gender gaps and other potential downsides of digital solutions such as the growing digital divide.
In terms of the awards, there are two grant types, namely, ‘Seed Grants’ and ‘Scale-Up Grants’, each with its own requirements. Applicants can only apply for one of these grant types and must select the type they are applying for. In other words, proposal should not be submitted for both grant types.
As for Seed Grants, up to U$D 250,000 is to be implemented for 12 months. Seed Grants are proposals for ‘smart farming’ solutions that can demonstrate potential in meeting the following criteria:
- Leveraging digital technology innovations with the potential to scale, for example, utilising a proven technology that has been applied in agriculture in another geography; transferring a technology from another sector such as health, infrastructure or finance; sourcing an entirely new technology;
- Show potential to improve SSP incomes, productivity and ability to adapt to climate change;
- Address barriers to scaled adoption of digital services, such as access, affordability and language and digital literacy. This includes addressing women’s access to digital services and closing the digital divide between those who have access and marginalised populations who do not;
- Have the potential to be bundled with multiple farmer-facing services into an integrated solution;
- Are enabled by robust digital and data technology platforms and services;
- Provide fit-for-purpose solutions(e.g. developed using human-centred design)for SSP enterprises who seek to sell a portion of production to markets;
- Show potential to be scaled using a sustainable business model and are affordable and able to provide positive return on investment at a smallholder farm level through successful pilots, scaling partners, or higher volume production driving down prices.
FOR MORE DETAILS VISIT https://gcgh.grandchallenges.org/challenge/smart-farming-innovations-small-scale-producers