Sahaj Challenge Fund Round 3 launched to promote agribusinessThe project is funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Nepal Agricultural Market Development Programme.
Sahaj Challenge Fund Round 3 was officially launched on Thursday in Kathmandu, aimed at promoting Nepal’s agribusiness.
The project is funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Nepal Agricultural Market Development Programme.
Sahaj Challenge Fund said it would support service providers with innovative solutions to solve existing bottlenecks in branding, packaging, and distribution channels in the value chains of maize, cardamom, vegetable and dairy products.
Speaking at the launch programme, Rick van der Kamp, team leader of Sahaj Challenge Fund, said, “Through Sahaj Challenge Fund, we aim to stimulate innovation in the agricultural sector.”
Subhechchha Shrestha, manager of Agriculture Services at Nepal Agricultural Market Development Programme, said, “The fund is designed for service providers in agricultural processing as improvements in processing would be advantageous to farmers in the form of value-addition, resulting in higher income and employment generation.”
From Practical Action Consulting, Adhish Karki, team leader for the Challenge Fund spoke about how round-3 of the Challenge Fund will be taken forward and the kinds of support that can be received from it.
He said that with financial support ranging from Rs500,000 to Rs5 million per project, Sahaj Challenge Fund will co-finance the costs involved in developing and piloting business models and solutions tailored to the Koshi Province.
However, the challenge fund will not support the purchase of equipment and machinery, though it will provide technical assistance to applicants if required, he said.
Applications for the fund are open with a deadline of June 20.
After completion of the application period, applicants will undergo the first round of screening and they will be asked to submit a full proposal. Those who reach the second round will undergo further screening and winners of the second round will be provided support from the Challenge Fund.
The Sahaj Challenge Fund Round 3 seeks to support a maximum of five businesses in the first round.
Rounds 3 and 4 of the Sahaj Challenge Fund will focus on product development and quality improvement, focusing on service providers working to link production with consumer demand through analysing the existing markets and supporting the private sector to invest in market development, said Shrestha.
In round-3 of the challenge fund, Practical Action Consulting will work as the implementing partner for Swisscontact.