The Accelerate for Impact Platform and Partners Trained 32 Teams to Hasten their Solutions for Creating Climate-resilient Food Systems
The arid region of Central Asia, West Asia, and North Africa (CWANA) faces increasing climate-related challenges, such as high temperatures, droughts, and floods. Despite limited agricultural land and water scarcity, the predominantly rain-fed agri-food systems are crucial for the social and economic stability of the region, determining employment, GDP, and local food security. However, vulnerability to resource overuse, climate change impacts, and societal pressures caused by gender inequalities, youth unemployment, and rural-to-urban migration, amplify the risk in this fragile and conflict-affected region.
The One CGIAR Research Initiative “From Fragility to Resilience in Central and West Asia and North Africa” (F2R-CWANA) seeks to address pressing issues affecting the region by harnessing co-created research and innovation development for socially inclusive and climate-resilient transformation at both national and regional levels. The Initiative aims to tackle climate, nutrition, and agri-food challenges by scaling effective technologies for climate-resilient value chains, reducing fragility and conflict, and empowering stakeholders for positive change, while minimizing trade-offs.
As part of this Initiative, the Accelerate for Impact Platform (A4IP) collaborated with CGIAR Centers and partners in Morocco to run the AgriTech4Morocco Innovation Challenge. The aim was to scout and support early-stage agri-tech solutions that could enhance efficiency, equity, and environmental sustainability in Morocco’s agriculture sector, while driving forward the goals of Generation Green Strategy 2020-2030. Thirty-two teams were equipped with comprehensive support through business-oriented training, mentorship, scientific technical assistance, and networking opportunities. This program empowered them to strengthen the technological component and scientific validity of their innovation, while also developing an actionable pathway for scaling their entry into the market.
The AgriTech4Morocco Innovation Challenge garnered signification recognition, as it featured as a Key Result Story in the CGIAR Initiative on Fragility to Resilience in CWANA Annual Technical Report 2022. This achievement was made possible through the joint efforts of partners, including the Digital Development Partnership through the World Bank who funded the project, IMPACT Lab, GIZ, the Ministry of Agriculture, Maritime Fisheries, Rural Development and Water and Forests of Morocco, le Pôle d’Agriculture Digitale (PAD), Agrinova, and Adaptation of African Agriculture Foundation alongside CGIAR Centers such as the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, ICARDA, IFPRI, and ILRI. The collective synergy brought forth a wealth of contributions, support, and expertise that played a crucial role in providing mentoring, valuable partnerships, and strategic connections.
Read more about the AgriTech4Morocco Innovation Challege winners, here.
What’s Happened Since
After the acceleration program, A4IP has remained connected with the cohort through on-demand post-acceleration support to winners, visibility opportunities within CGIAR, and milestones tracking. Exciting developments have unfolded, including:
• Fundraising success: One start-up achieved an impressive total fundraise of €1 million, securing €600,000 in equity.
• Strategic partnerships: Start-ups established partnerships with industry leaders such as Nestlé, Nespresso, and PepsiCo, unlocking new funding opportunities and extensive networks.
• Recognition at influential platforms: Participating in renowned forums like Katapult Africa, AfricArena Summit, Salon International de l’Agriculture au Maroc “SIAM”, UN Water Conference, and Sustainable Food Systems Conference, start-ups seized valuable opportunities to pitch their solution and actively engaging with organizations dedicated to shaping the future of agriculture.
• Pilot deployment approval: Two start-ups received approval for the pilot deployments in Morocco.
• Winners of other acceleration programs: Start-ups emerged as winners in other esteemed acceleration programs led by Plug and Play, Expo Live, African Startup Awards, Viva and the International Finance Corporation.
What’s Next in the Pipeline
The AgriTech4Morocco Innovation Challenge showcased the transformative power of innovation in providing tangible solutions to tackle the interconnected challenges affecting agriculture. The next crucial phase involves incentivizing farmers and other value chain actors to embrace these cost-effective and resilient technological solutions, which may involve initial investments but offer substantial long-term benefits.
As part of the ongoing efforts under CGIAR’s Research Initiative F2R CWANA, the team is dedicated to expanding this model to other countries in the region, with Uzbekistan and Egypt being the focus for 2023. Stay connected for updates as A4IP continues to work towards building greater resilience in the CWANA region and beyond on a global scale.
The Accelerate for Impact Platform (A4IP) is the Alliance/CGIAR’s venture-space to co-design, accelerate and fund market-driven and multidisciplinary innovation at the nexus of agriculture, environment, and health: Learn More
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