Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation invests in companies and organizations looking to engage smallholder farmers in the global agricultural marketplace. Partnering for Innovation's grants program encourages private sector growth in smallholder markets, increasing smallholder access to technology, information, and resources which will, in turn, increase smallholders' incomes.
Partnering for Innovation's grant program is unique because of its streamlined application process, its business-oriented negotiation process, and its results-based implementation. Solicitations and selection criteria are designed with the private sector in mind, focusing on the soundness of the activity and the smallholder market-suitability as essential criteria. Negotiations push companies to realize their potential in the smallholder market and to set attainable but ambitious targets. Signed awards rely on results-based achievements for payment based on typical business metrics. When our partners succeed, we succeed.
Partnering for Innovation invests in smallholder agriculture in two ways:
Technology Commercialization Grants
Partnering for Innovation's Technology Commercialization grants invest in companies with tested technologies that are ready to be introduced into new markets. The program looks for existing, off-the-shelf technologies that will increase the productivity and competitiveness of smallholder farmers. Some examples of technologies Partnering for Innovation is helping commercialize are drip irrigation; on-farm storage; grain processing; animal and aquaculture productivity; climate risk mitigation tools; inputs; and improved seed varieties. Partnering for Innovation's technology commercialization awards have the potential to give over 350,000 smallholder farmers access to affordable technologies to help them in areas ranging from improved yields and animal health and productivity to reduced postharvest loss.
Partnering for Innovation also works with USAID Missions to design solicitations for new agricultural partnerships, which request applications from private sector stakeholders that address either an agricultural or food security challenge or gaps in Mission agricultural portfolios. The resulting performance-based agreement - Standard Milestone Obligation Grants - ensures Mission partners are accountable for results and USAID sees a return on its investment. Partnering for Innovation works with USAID Missions to develop partnerships that support Feed the Future objectives in individual countries by:
- Providing needs assessment and other technical assistance;
- Designing partnership solicitations through a consultative process;
- Managing the solicitation process; and
- Managing partnerships through performance-based grants based on business metrics.
The program provides USAID Missions with an efficient way to engage the private sector by signing partnerships in an abbreviated timeframe with agreements that are milestone-based.
We are currently working with USAID Mission in Guatemala, Malawi, and Mozambique.
Solicitations for both grant types are announced on partneringforinnovation.org and on the AgTechXChange. Proposals are reviewed by internal and external experts before a final selection is made. All grants are milestone-based with payments tied to meeting business metrics such as sales quantities and business development planning.