Bayer Foundation, a platform committed to fostering innovation and impact, has unveiled a USD 20 Mn fund. The social innovation ecosystem fund aims to foster entrepreneurship for African smallholder farmers.
Gearing to scale up technology and entrepreneurial solutions, the new fund already has four investments. It has awarded USD 3 Mn for four pioneering social innovators. myAgro, Mercy Corps, Path, and Living Goods are getting funded by the group over the next four years. They will use the funding to scale innovative nutrition and health programs in their respective countries.
myAgro will be training 200,000 smallholder farmers in Mali and Senegal to increase their harvests. The 2011-founded business will also provide health interventions and nutrition programs for 250,000 children in farming households.
Mercy Corps will be leveraging a revolutionary data platform. Based on weather, GPS, and crop type, the platform will connect 200,000 smallholder farmers with farming input providers.
Uganda-based Living Goods will empower 350 community health workers in the East African country in an attempt to cater to 280,000 families. The initiative is geared towards doubling down on the health system of the country.
Uganda has one of the highest unmet needs for family planning in sub-Saharan Africa. Only 28.5 percent of women using modern contraceptives. Low usage rates contribute to a range of maternal and neonatal health challenges.
In the Tambacounda region of Senegal, Path will roll out an anti-malaria program. Gaoling to fight the dreaded disease, the platform will reach 125,000 people directly and 700,000 via TV spots.
The farmers the USD 20 Mn fund concerns itself with have little purchasing power to develop and drive into local markets. Liam Condon, Member of the Bayer management board, said the development is a huge step towards helping farmers eradicate poverty in their communities.
“These social entrepreneurs have developed innovative and inclusive business models that will enable smallholder farmers,” he added.
Bayer’s ongoing program aims to build an entire social innovation ecosystem around 100 million African smallholder farmers and their family members by 2030. It’s unclear how much each awardee received, but it appears Living Goods was awarded something to the tune of USD 700 K.
“With our funding, we aim to provide health and agricultural expertise and services to smallholder farmer communities via local organizations,” said Monika Lessl, Executive Director of the Bayer Foundation.
Featured Image: Bayer Crop Science