The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has launched the USAID/Nigeria COVID-19 Food Security Challenge, through which USAID will offer $3 million in funding and technical assistance to youth-led and mid-stage companies in Nigeria to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the nation’s agri-food systems.
While operators of the youth-led companies should be up to age 29, the mid-stage companies are those having an existing customer base of over 1,000 people.
According to the U.S. agency, Nigeria is presently confronted with a food security crisis that is deepened by COVID-19 global pandemic and its negative consequences on the food value chain in the country. The pandemic is said to have severely affected an already weak agri-food system and value chain across the nation.
The agency submitted that millions of people, and especially the most vulnerable households, are threatened with hunger and malnutrition due to the socio-economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic and large-scale disruption to food production, processing, distribution, and marketing systems.
“In response to this crisis, USAID/Nigeria seeks to collaborate with commercially viable youth-led and mid-stage companies that are already operating in food production, processing, and/or distribution across Nigeria,” said USAID, requesting that these partners assist farmers and other stakeholders in the food value chain to increase agricultural productivity and food security within the next six months.
The Challenge anticipates awarding 15 to 25 youth-led companies up to $75,000 each and awarding 10 to15 mid-stage companies up to $150,000 each.
The winners, it was gathered, will receive funding and technical assistance to rapidly expand their food production or food security 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.
The agency will host a webinar to provide guidance on the goals, and the submission process. The webinar holds on Wednesday, April 28, 2021 at 2:00 PM WAT. Aspiring participants can register here to join the webinar.