The United States Agency for International Development has launched a COVID-19 Food Security Challenge that will provide $3 million to Nigerians.

The agency said on Monday that the funds will come in financial support and technical assistance to “youth-led and mid-stage companies working in food value chains in Nigeria.”

As Nigeria is experiencing food insecurity compounded by the COVID-19 global pandemic and its effects on the food value chain in the country, the pandemic has disrupted already fragile agricultural value chains.

This is especially as it concerns smallholder farmers’ ability to produce, process, and distribute food. 

The USAID noted that this menace disrupts agricultural productivity and markets, and negatively impacts livelihoods, especially among vulnerable households, women, and youth.

The USAID Mission Director, Anne Patterson said, “We are launching the COVID-19 Food Security Challenge to help innovative Nigerians alleviate food insecurity. This assistance 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.”  

In launching the challenge, USAID seeks commercially viable youth-led and mid-stage companies already working in food production, processing, and distribution.

The agency noted 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.

The challenge will award 15 to 25 youth-led companies up to $75,000 each and award 10 to15 mid-stage companies up to $150,000 each. 

“The winners will receive funding and technical assistance to rapidly expand their activities to 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,” the agency added.
 

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