Blog Agrobiodiversity Innovation Challenge: Call for innovative solutions in the agri-food tech space

Fruits and vegetables in a traditional market in Indonesia

Traditional Market in Indonesia

Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT/F. de la Cruz

Innovation must play a key role in responding to agricultural challenges and delivering on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 

As part of the 2nd International Agrobiodiversity Congress, November 15–18, we are thrilled to announce the Agrobiodiversity Innovation Challenge: Call for innovative solutions in the agri-food tech space. 

The need for innovative solutions to respond to challenges in agriculture, food and nutritional security, climate change, and environmental degradation has never been clearer. In few industries is this more pertinent than in agriculture. Current agricultural practices do considerable damage to the environment and are the cause of approximately 20% of global GHG emissions.  

Not only are drastic changes needed, but shifts towards more sustainable practices must also take place in tandem with scaling the system to feed nine billion people by 2050. Ensuring food and nutritional security while reducing climate change impacts, deforestation, and biodiversity loss is no small feat. 


The Agrobiodiversity Innovation Challenge will showcase a selection of innovations with the potential to disrupt and transform current agricultural practices and food systems and to deliver on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Ten shortlisted innovations will enter a pitch day competition on November 15, with a range of cash and in-kind prizes on offer for the best solutions including mentoring, partnerships, scientific and technology guidance, and tuition for a master’s program. Prizes will be awarded by Alliance/CGIAR and its partners. 

We are extremely proud to have partnered with leading organizations such as Rockstart and IFAD for this event.

"An efficient, resilient and sustainable agrifood system plays a central part in feeding our growing population within planetary boundaries. At Rockstart we invest in early stage tech startups solving these challenges and driving positive change.", comments Mark Durno, Managing Partner AgriFood, Rockstart.   

Through initiatives like the Agrobiodiversity Innovation Challenge and the strengthening of the partnership with CGIAR, IFAD aims to attract ideas from a great diversity of sources and to foster evidence-based decision-making, user-centric solutions, and learning.  

"Development agencies should focus on providing support to the demand side of innovation. We need to focus on finding solutions to problems based not on our assumptions of what the best solution could be but on evidence and on the feedback that we receive from end-users and beneficiaries for whom we are undertaking efforts.", says Dominik Ziller, Vice President, IFAD. 

The Agrobiodiversity Innovation Challenge is organized by the newly launched Alliance/CGIAR Accelerate for Impact Platform (A4IP), a venture space that harnesses science and entrepreneurialism to catalyze and drive transformative innovations and technologies to address some of the most pressing challenges at the nexus of agriculture, nutrition, and climate change.  

“We are excited to be able to attract some amazing innovators and to help them unlock their full potential’’ says Gianpiero Menza, Senior Partnerships & Innovative Finance Officer at the Alliance/CGIAR, “Through the Accelerate for Impact Platform we support those science-based solutions stuck in the pre-commercial and conceptual stage and provide funding to the most visionary teams working on cutting-edge areas of research driven to develop game-changing solutions.”  

For more details about the challenge, eligibility criteria, and how to apply, please click the button below or send us an email at [email protected]

Applications close on September 30.

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