Foodtrade East & Southern Africa has launched a Soybean Challenge Fund that is open to applicants in Tanzania and other eight countries across East and Southern Africa.
The fund seeks to stimulate innovative business models in private sector companies and private sector led consortiums that will unlock barriers in the regional soybean value chains.
“The development and improvement of regional soybean value chain systems is the third pillar of our programme, which focuses on enhancing and promoting trade in staple foods, explained Marc Van Uytvanck, the Team Leader of the FoodTrade ESA programme. He added that working with the private sector and other development actors is aimed at promoting the participation of small-scale farmers in the production and marketing of soybeans.
FoodTrade ESA will provide up to 49 per cent of the total proposed budget of proposals received, with successful applicants entitled to grants ranging between £250,000 (approx. Tz shs770m/-) to £800,000 (approx. Tz shs 2.5bn/-) per proposal.
The grants are aimed at stimulating increased production and value addition of soybeans in East and Southern Africa, with benefits anticipated including increased availability of livestock farming inputs, 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 organisations or private-sector-led consortia in any of the FTESA countries of interest including Tanzania, Zambia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique.
These private sector companies along with their partners will be expected to provide small-holders farmers with an off-taker market for soybean produce at a fair price, adequate input supply, as well as agriculture extension and support services, he said.
A wide number of projects are eligible for funding. These include projects involved in: Farmer mobilisation; processing and value addition; bulking and aggregation storage mechanisms; marketing; as well as investments aimed at increasing the production of soybean at the farmer level.