(AGENDAWATCHDOG) – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is set to assist Nigeria with financial grant and technical assistance worth $3 million to fight food insecurity in the country worsened by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This was contained in a statement by the agency in which it revealed that on April 12, 2021, it launched a COVID-19 Food Security Challenge that will provide $3 million in grant funding and technical assistance to youth-led and mid-stage companies working in food value chains in Nigeria.
While noting that Nigeria was experiencing food insecurity compounded by the COVID-19 global pandemic and its effects on the food value chain in the country, the agency acknowledged that the pandemic had disrupted the already fragile agricultural value chains, especially smallholder farmers’ ability to produce, process and distribute food, which has disrupted agricultural productivity and markets, and negatively impacted livelihoods, especially among vulnerable households, women and youth.
According to USAID, it seeks to empower commercially viable youth-led and mid-stage companies already working in food production, processing, and distribution, noting that successful applicants will present ideas that demonstrably help farmers and other stakeholders in the agricultural value chain increase, agricultural productivity and food security within the next six months.
According to the statement, the challenge will award 15 to 25 youth-led companies up to $75,000 each and award 10 to 15 mid-stage companies up to $150,000 each.
PROJECTED IMPACT: USAID’s COVID-19 Food Security Challenge will help innovative Nigerians to rapidly expand their activities and mitigate the effect of COVID-19 on Nigeria’s food value chain and improve the resilience of vulnerable households to the negative impacts of the pandemic. It is meant to encourages private sector-led solutions to boost food production, processing and create market linkage along the agriculture value chain in a sustainable way across Nigeria.