United Nations
Information Centre | Nepal
UNCDF announces Nepal Innovation Challenges-AgriTECH
5/9/2019 2:59:38 PM

29 April 2019, Kathmandu, Nepal - The Nepal Innovation Challenges: AgriTECH was officially launched in Kathmandu on 29 April . This challenge is part of the global Financial Innovation Lab Initiative run by the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF). The challenge is hosted in collaboration with NEXT Venture Corp. and Idea4Scale. The objective behind hosting this challenges is to support innovators and existing start-up comapnies ideate, innovate and implement technology driven solutions for smallholder farmers and the private sector companies serving them.

The challenge is designed around two problem statements that address persisting challenges in both the demand and the supply side of the agriculture sector. On demand side, is the agriculture sector in Nepal which is an important part of the economy and contributes 31% to the GDP and employs 68% of the population. Howerever, smallholder farmers in Nepal face constraints such as access to finance, access to high-quality agriculture inputs and access to relevant agriculture as well as market information to sustain and scale-up their livelihoods.

On the supply side, many start-up companies and Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) are supporting the agriculture sector by offering pre- harvest management services such as contract farming, processing, trading, etc. Howerver, start-ups and MSEs that are supporting the agriculture sector express recurring challenges such as lack of information dissemination channels, effective ways to ensure production standards, lack of data-driven demand and supply analysis and lack of digital systems that negatively impact their operational efficiency and value addition to the sector.

The AgriTECH Challenges is open for start-up companies as well as anyone who has an innovative idea that can solve demand and supply side challenges. The challenge will run for a period of 6 months where participants will be taken on a journey to turn their ideas into actions. The challenge will have a dedicated pool o national and international experts who will help the participants develop their products and services. The participants will also be given an opportunity to LIVE test their solutions in the market during product prototype phase of the challenge.

Speaking on the launch event, Ms. Valerie Julliand , UN Resident Coordinator  said: "1 out of 4 people in Nepal is directly on inderictely associated with the agriculture sector. But, rarely do we hear about technology driven solutions being implemented in the agriculture sector. Through Nepal Innovation Challeng, I am hopeful to see sustainable innovative solutions that benefits the smallholder farmers and their farmlands in Nepal."

"Fin Tech can be helpful in improving the farming system at a time when the sector is suffering from climate change. And Nepal Innovation Challenge will provide the platform for innovative solutions to transform and inculcate the change in Nepal's Agriculture sector. "- Dr. David Molden, Director General, ICIMOD.

Ms. Keyzom Ngodup Masally, Regional Technical Specialist, UNICEF said, "We will continue to play role of an invetsment agency of the Least Developed Countries to catalyze solutions to leave no one behind. I am therefore even more encouraged  that we stand here today with our partners Ldea4Scale and Next Venture Corp[. to accelerate innovations and help connect solutions to problems through a wide network of enablers and beyound the lifetime of this challenge"

Mr. Kavi Raj Joshi, MD- NEXT Venture Corp stated, "Next Venture Crop is honored to be a part of the Nepal Innovation Challenge-AgriTECH. We bring with us, years of experience in hosting various accelerator programs that keep beneficiary be it women entrepreneurs, youth or farmers at the heart of the solution."

The challenge will announce 2 winner who will be awarded grant up to USD30,000 and 1 year technical assistance from UNCDF to pilot the product/service and develop it's scale-up plan.



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