The East Africa Postharvest Technologies Competition 2017: Call for Entries

Nairobi, February 1, 2017–To spur the development of innovative technologies to reduce food loss and waste in Africa, the Inter Region Economic Network (IREN) is conducting the inaugural East Africa Postharvest Technologies Competition 2017 (EAPTC 2017) through a grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) East Africa Trade and Investment Hub. The call for applications is now open.

Reducing food loss and waste is essential for improved nutrition and food security. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that one third (1.3 billion metric tons) of the food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted along global supply chains. This accounts for a 15 percent income reduction for over 470 million participants in the agricultural value chain, including smallholder farmers, manufacturers and retailers.

The competition calls on innovators from across the East African Community to pitch technologies that address challenges in the post-harvest management of food-crop commodities and enhance labor production. The competition will offer the top 25 participants an opportunity to showcase and pitch their ideas to potential partners, including development partners, donors, governments, farmer and trader associations, and investors. The competition will take place in May 2017 during a special session of the upcoming East Africa Postharvest Technologies Fair. The top three contestants will split a seed fund of $30,000 USD through a generous contribution of agribusiness corporation Syngenta and other partners.

“Finding innovative solutions to complex development challenges is paramount to USAID’s mission. The East Africa Post Harvest Technologies Competition 2017 supports locally driven solutions for greater East African food security. We are proud to be the sponsors of this competition,” said USAID Mission Director for Kenya and East Africa Karen Freeman.

Innovators, researchers and individuals aged 18 and above from the East African member countries — Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi — are welcome to apply. Successful applicants will receive accelerated training on how to package and pitch their ideas to investors, which will expand the opportunity to scale-up and disseminate their technologies to a wider market.

“We are very delighted to host this exciting new competition and would like to invite all post-harvest technology innovators from all East African countries to enter this game-changing competition,” said James Shikwati, Chief Executive Officer, IREN. “This competition will enable us to identify a range of technologies that have the potential to help the continent confront and counter the huge challenges in post-harvest management.”

Application forms, competition guidelines, and awards information are available on the competition website, www.younginnovatorsinagribusiness.com, or email profiles to yiac@irenkenya.com.

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About the partners

USAID: The USAID East Africa Trade and Investment Hub (the Hub) boosts trade and investment with and within Africa. The goal of the Hub is to deepen regional integration, increase the competitiveness of select regional agriculture value chains, promote two-way trade with the U.S. under the African Growth and Opportunity Act and facilitate investment and technology that drives trade growth intra-regionally and to global markets. www.eatradehub.org

The U.S. Government’s Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative, Feed the Future, strives to increase agricultural production and the incomes of both men and women in rural areas who rely on agriculture for their livelihoods. Investments in inclusive agricultural-led growth encompass improving agricultural productivity, expanding markets and trade, and increasing the economic resilience of vulnerable rural communities.

Syngenta: Syngenta is one of the world’s leading companies with more than 28,000 employees in over 90 countries dedicated to our purpose: Bringing plant potential to life. Through world-class science, global reach and commitment to our customers we help to increase crop productivity, protect the environment and improve health and quality of life. www.syngenta.com

The Inter Region Economic Network, Ltd. (IREN): IREN has managed over 18 business competitions for the last 15 year years. IREN has for the last three years created screening and training platforms for Start-ups and Small and Medium Sized Enterprises across the East African region. IREN ‘s three focus areas include Think Tank for public policy analysis targeting wealth creation in Africa; Enterprise Development to promote investor ready enterprises and consultancy.

For more information please contact:
Nadine Sunderland, Development Outreach and Communications

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Kenya

+254 715 516 324 or NSunderland@usaid.gov