The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Nigeria has launched a youth-targeted COVID-19 Food Security Challenge to tackle the rising challenges surrounding food security due to the pandemic. The project will provide a $3 million grant and technical assistance to youth-led and mid-stage companies working in the food value chain in Nigeria.
The Challenge will award 15 to 25 youth-led companies (up to age 29) up to $75,000 each and 10 to 15 mid-stage companies (with an existing customer base of more than 1,000 people) up to $150,000 each. This is expected to help farmers and other stakeholders increase agricultural productivity and meet food security agenda of both the Federal government of Nigeria and the United Nations within the next six months.
The pandemic affected fragile agricultural value chains, specifically producing, processing, and distribution. It also affected livelihoods, especially among low-income households, women, and youth. The grant targets those already working in these areas of the value chain.
In addition, it aims to provide the companies with technical assistance and capital needed to sustainably scale solutions to meet the requirements of the Challenge. It also aims to promote climate and environmental resilience and biodiversity, develop innovative and local food-based models and marketing of highly nutritious foods to prevent the threat of acute malnutrition, and to promote socially responsible marketing and advertising.
Applications close May 9 2021, while the winners will be announced in September 2021.