The Ethiopia Netherlands Trade for Agricultural Growth (ENTAG) granted matching funds to 15 projects, which are first round winners of the fund. These projects won grants from 15,000 Euros to 25,000 Euros, making the total amount of money granted in first round more than 300,000 Euros.
ENTAG, a project initiated to support agribusinesses and entrepreneurs operating in Ethiopia to develop the agricultural sector, called on innovators with new idea for the grant.
As per the procedure 15 selected innovators received the fund from the total 134 applicants who compete for the grant on the ceremony held at ENTAG head office on Thursday July 27.
Shitaye Adugna, Manager of Innovation Fund at ENTAG, told Capital that the grant is jointly proposed by the governments of Ethiopia and the Netherlands.
The objective of the innovation fund is to promote innovations in various agricultural sub-sectors in Ethiopia that benefit smallholder farmers.
The areas that the grant covers are fishery, spice, legumes, sesame, poultry, dairy and potato. Winners are selected on different criteria.
Projects are considered innovative when they introduce new or improved products, services, technology, business models and/or service delivery model to the country.
“These 15 winning projects successfully passed the evaluation based on a technical approach, economic viability, implementation capacity and value for money,” Shitaye explained.
Shitaye said that four of the innovation winners come from the dairy sector. The fishery sector has three winners, while spice, potato, pulses have got two winners each and one poultry winner is included on the list.
“The winners shall not be engaged on the business but they have to come with innovative ideas that shall solve the challenges faces on the agribusiness,” the Innovation Fund Manger said.
“For instance on the dairy sector one of the fund winner comes with the idea of packing milk products for a longer shelf period,” Shitaye added.
He said that the winners shall be engaged on agro processing or improving the agriculture activity. “The fund is not just stuck on the agro processing sector,” Shitaye explained.
One of the spice sector grant fund winners comes with the idea to distribute Cardamom seedlings for farmers to expand the export volume. “Currently the spice is collected from the wild but on the new innovation the winner will cultivate the seedling and distribute the seed for wide range production by the farmers.”
“Some of the other winners are directly related with the farming that targets the export market than processing,” he added.
Shitaye further said that ENTAG will provide technical management support for the realization of the project proposed by the winners.
Betel Solomon, Project Manager of Tewodros Kifle Agricultural Mechanization, which is engaged in the aquaculture sector, told Capital that her company comes with the idea to provide feed and fingerling for farmers.
“There is scarcity on the supply of fish feeding for the farmers in the country,” she added.
Her company proposed the idea to establish feed processing plant to supply for farmers who are engaged on aquaculture. Besides that the company has planned to supply fingerling and buy the product from the farmer.
The company won 24, 000 Euros for the idea. The company will also inject additional 24,000 Euros to realize the project. Co-financing is one of the criteria on the grant funding. “We submitted our proposal to expand our business,” Betel added.
Currently, Tewodros Kifle Agricultural Mechanization is supplying fish products it collected from farmers to the market. “Market chain is also one of the challenges for the farmers so we will also buy the products from the farmers,” the project manager said.
ENTAG’s five priority sectors that it works are aquaculture, poultry, spices, sesame and legumes. Among other components of focus, the program has a funding package named Innovation Fund at the forefront of its services, with a grant budget of 1 million Euros.
The fund provides matching grant funding for innovative projects, with a maximum grant contribution of 25,000 Euros.
The Innovation Fund has been operational from September 2016, and it will end in December 2019.
Individual winner projects of the fund, in this round, will get matching grants from 15, 000 to 25, 000 Euros, making the total amount of money granted 300,000 Euros.