2 January 2013

Southern Africa: Clean Energy Solutions to Improve African Agriculture

press release

USAID/Southern Africa Encourages Local Organizations to Apply for the Powering Agriculture Challenge

Awards Between $300,000 and $1,500,000 Available to Organizations That Can Offer Market-based, Clean Energy Solutions for Agriculture. Receipt of Applications due to Washington, D.C. by February 16, 2013.

The Problem: Without reliable and clean energy services, farmers and agribusinesses in developing countries are less able to adopt modern agricultural techniques, increase food production, engage in opportunities for value-added processing, and benefit from broad-based, environmentally-sound economic growth. Historically, efforts to bolster the agriculture and energy sectors have been largely stove-piped, reflecting little regard for the interdependency between the two sectors. Within Southern Africa, more than 60% of the population depends on agriculture to make a living. Yet most of the rural population lacks access to electricity, and this situation hampers their ability to increase agricultural productivity, to improve post-harvest handling and processing, and to access markets. USAID/Southern Africa's recent energy assessment confirmed that access to electricity in rural areas for several Southern African countries is as low as 3%. However, as the global population steadily increases, substantial intensification of agricultural production will need to occur. Within each stage of agriculture supply chains, there are opportunities for increased integration of clean energy services to support this endeavor.

The Grand Challenge Model: Today's request for proposals acknowledges a changing world for international development. USAID's Administrator Rajiv Shah created "Grand Challenges for Development" as a way to encourage the private and public sectors to find innovative market-based solutions to the most persistent development challenges. Previous global Grand Challenge competitions have focused on health and education. The Powering Agriculture: An Energy Grand Challenge for Development (PAEGC), the third Grand Challenge, seeks market-based clean energy solutions for agriculture. Supported by USAID, the Government of Sweden and Duke Energy, the PAEGC invites private sector companies, organizations, and individuals from any country to submit applications for individual awards ranging from $300,000 to $1,500,000. "Powering Agriculture: An Energy Grand Challenge for Development (PAEGC) competition is an excellent opportunity for local organizations and innovators to contribute to improving regional food security, and to our broader Feed the Future goals, through the development and deployment of clean energy technologies," says Erin Pacific, USAID/Southern Africa's Regional Economic Growth Office Director. USAID/Southern Africa encourages partnerships between South African and Southern African organizations to develop and introduce innovative technologies, particularly for FTF focus countries in our region: Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia.

Organizations with agriculturally focused clean energy innovations can submit proposals and be awarded funding between $300,000 and $1,500,000 to develop and disseminate their ideas. Applications will be accepted January 15, 2013 through February 6, 2013.

Visit http://www.PoweringAg.org to learn how you can take up the challenge. Or contact JFoster@usaid.gov or MWashburn@usaid.gov from USAID/Washington with general questions about PAEGC. As with all USAID procurements, this procurement can also be downloaded from http://www.grants.gov and http://www.fbo.gov.

Applicants from the Southern African region are encouraged to coordinate with USAID/Southern Africa. Please contact Lynn Schneider (lschneider@usaid.gov) from USAID/Southern Africa's Regional Economic Growth Office with questions or inquiries specific to applying for PAEGC funding in Southern Africa. Background on the U.S. Government's FTF program and country strategies can be found here: http://feedthefuture.gov/.

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