Local soybean producers stand to get grants of up to 2.5bn/-

20Apr 2016
Dickson Ng`hily
The Guardian
Local soybean producers stand to get grants of up to 2.5bn/-

LOCAL private breeders of soybean can now benefit from a competition dubbed Soybean Challenge Fund that is open to contestants from nine countries across eastern and southern Africa.

The fund which is a brainchild of Food Trade East and Southern Africa, seeks to stimulate innovative business models in private companies and consortia that will unlock barriers in the regional soybean value chains.

This is according to Marc van Uytvanck, the Team Leader of the FoodTrade ESA program who said in a statement that her firm will provide up to 49 percent of the total proposed budget of proposals received.

Successful applicants will get grants ranging between £250,000 to £800,000 (about 786.3m/- and 2.5bn/-) per proposal which will target to improve regional soybean value chain system “By working with the private sector and other development actors, we aim to promote the participation of small scale farmers in the production and marketing of soybeans,” said van Uytvanck.

He pointed out that partnerships that help address market failures in storage, inputs, service markets as well as coordination mechanisms and policy regulation will help improve the yields and livelihoods of soybean farmers.

The grants will specifically target to stimulate increased production and value addition of soybeans in the region with resulting benefits including increased availability of livestock feeds, secured livelihoods for small scale soybean farmers, improved supply of soybean crops and processed products, as well as improved access and health for consumers.

The Soybean Challenge Fund is targeted at private sector organizations, or private-sector-led consortia in Burundi, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The said private sector companies, along with their partners, will be expected to provide smallholders farmers with an off-taker market for soybean produce at a fair price, adequate input supply, as well as agriculture extension and support services.

The Soybean Challenge Fund round is expected to last for 18 months. The call for proposals is already live on the organization’s website and that applications will be accepted until May, 2016.

FoodTrade East and Southern Africa is a 5 year trade enhancement and promotion programme focusing on staple food crops. Funded by the UK Government and managed by Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI).