Nigeria is facing a food security crisis that is compounded by the COVID-19 global pandemic and its effects on the food value chain in the country. The pandemic has significantly disrupted already fragile value chains across the country, including people’s ability to produce, process, and distribute food. The disruption to agricultural productivity and markets has a negative  knock-on  impact on livelihoods, especially among the most vulnerable households.
As part of the Feed the Future initiative, USAID/Nigeria is partnering with youth-led companies (up to age 29) and mid-stage companies (with an existing customer base of more than 1,000 people) that are already working in food production, processing, and distribution. USAID calls on  these partners to help farmers and other stakeholders in the food value chain increase agricultural productivity and food security within the next year to mitigate the effect of COVID-19 on Nigeria’s food value chain. This competition was run in partnership with USAID’s Exploratory Programs and Innovation Competitions (EPIC) Team. 
The Challenge application window closed on May 9, 2021.

About the Challenge:

The Challenge aims to:

  • Increase food and agriculture system productivity and enhance efficient production along the value chains in order to unlock agricultural production that has been limited by COVID-19’s impact on food production, processing, and distribution in Nigeria.
  • Increase income for Base of the Pyramid (BoP) women and men in both rural and urban areas.
  • Provide youth-led and mid-stage companies the technical assistance and capital they need to sustainably scale solutions to meet the requirements of the Challenge.
  • Promote climate and environmental resilience as well as biodiversity through the sustainable, holistic management of natural resources and ecosystems.
  • Develop and promote innovative and local food-based models, including the local production, processing, and marketing of highly nutritious foods to prevent and/or treat wasting/acute malnutrition.      
  • Promote socially responsible marketing/advertising to increase demand for safe, nutritious foods and other nutrition-related commodities and services. 

The Winners:

After reviewing over 500 applications from mid-stage and youth-led companies in Nigeria, USAID is excited to announce the winners of the USAID/Nigeria COVID-19 Food Security Challenge! In October 2021, USAID/Nigeria, in partnership with USAID’s EPIC Team, selected 32 companies to receive awards totaling $4 million in funding and technical assistance to support food production and/or food security in Nigeria. The winners include 19 youth-led companies and 13 mid-stage companies.

Learn more about the 32 winners and their work supporting food security in Nigeria.


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