AICCRA Zambia Accelerator Grant

Catalyzing partnerships for sustainable agriculture solutions in Zambia

About AICCRA Zambia

Southern Africa is a climate hotspot. Erratic rainfall, rising temperatures, and recurring droughts and floods are impacting water, agriculture, and energy businesses, undermining farmers’ livelihoods, and threatening existing crop and livestock systems.

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed further stress on food and water security in the region, with both crises affecting workforces, transportation systems, and supply chains from field to fork. As the region and Zambia gear up for economic recovery post-Covid, AICCRA’s value addition would be in strengthening climate resilience and putting food systems on a low emissions development pathway with the view that improved water resource management is key to a zero-carbon future.

AICCRA Zambia aims to improve water and food security in southern Africa through access to knowledge, technologies, and decision-making tools to strengthen climate resilience in Zambia’s food systems in the face of a hotter and drier climate. AICCRA will work with Zambian partners by scaling actionable climate information services (CIS) and climate-smart agriculture (CSA) innovations that will achieve water and food security and build resilience in an inclusive manner.


December 15, 2021
Program dates Feb 1, 2022 - Jan 31, 2024
Organizer CGIAR
Targets Africa
Sectors Sector agnostic

What we offer

1. Scaling grant
Successful applicants will be awarded a scaling grant of US$ 50,000 per bundle, distributed over the course of the project duration according to the proposed budgeting and needs of the applicants. The funds will only be distributed if their purpose is proven to contribute to the proposed scaling activities. Participants are required to periodically produce audited financial statements.

2. Technical assistance
During the active project duration (January 2022 – December 2023), CGIAR partners will provide technical assistance in form of development and implementation of agronomic best practices, commercial/business advisory, scientific assistance, networking opportunities in form of multi-stakeholder dialogues as well as monitoring & evaluation. Participants are expected to work closely with the CGIAR partners.

CSA Innovation bundles

AICCRA Zambia in partnership with national incubators and the private sector will nurture innovations through the provision of incubator/accelerator grants for startups/SME’s working in CIS delivery and CSA technology scaling to de-risk scaling innovations and to enhance climate resilience of value chains, social inclusion, and sustainable use of land and water.

AICCRA will partner with the private sector to invest in youth entrepreneurship, start-up capital, and apply appropriate financial models. It will design its incubator grants in a way that closes the gender gap in climate advisory services/data/information development and will provide an equitable opportunity for female SME leaders.

AICCRA Zambia seeks partnerships for agricultural technology and innovation adaptation and improvement, finance, and value chain development to accelerate the scaling of CSA bundles in Zambia. Proposing partnerships should present activities that can catalyze adoption while improving inclusivity and supporting environmental sustainability.

For-profit businesses and social enterprises are invited to contribute to an application, including domestic and international businesses. We encourage proposals that include multiple components and present a cohesive, market systems approach.

There will be one grant issued for each of the following CSA Bundles:

CSA Bundle 1: Sustainable Financing for Off-Grid Solar Irrigation – Addressing physical and economic water scarcity through the provision of off-grid solar pumps to smallholder farmers in key-value chains and supporting adaption through sustainable finance solutions. PDF file Bundle 1 info sheet

CSA Bundle 2: Integrated Aquaculture Agriculture Systems – Promote integrated management and use of aquaculture, agriculture, and livestock & providing access to improved/quality and resilient fish seed by linking farmers to trained seed producers in their communities. PDF file Bundle 2 info sheet

CSA Bundle 3: Addressing Drought through Climate Smart Seed Varieties – Improve access to multi-stress tolerate varieties in partnership with a wide range of actors along the seed value chain. PDF file Bundle 3 info sheet

CSA Bundle 4: Diversified integrated mixed chicken/goats – legume systems – Diversified integrated crop-livestock systems, through market-oriented climate-smart agriculture, increase farm net returns. Partnerships among input suppliers, feed processors, financial services farmers, and off-takers through inclusive business models support and promote small stock (goats and poultry) and dual-purpose crop (legumes and cereals) value chains. PDF file Bundle 4 info sheet

“Best in Class” Grant for Gender & Social Inclusion: This additional grant will be issued to the application with the strongest case for inclusive and gender-sensitive impact. This grant will fall under one of the four presented preceding innovation bundles. Further information is available in the application sheet (see application process description below).

Who we are looking for

  • For-profit business with at least one year of regional or national presence and experience, and legally able to perform work in the country. Non-government, consultancy, and non-profit entities will not be considered as leading applicants.
  • Implementing partners and other organizations may be included in a consortium such as other commercial businesses, farmer cooperatives, consulting firms, and/or business/member associations.
  • Personnel with relevant experience and qualifications to implement the proposed scope of work.
  • Experience working in Zambia, including with producers and other market actors, development partners, non-governmental organizations, and government agencies and organizations.

Evaluation criteria

1. Innovation of Business Case
The business model(s) should indicate objective(s) for the growth of their CSA solution in the selected supply chain and markets. Market opportunities and constraints should be explained together with activities to work within the specific market setting. Applicants will be evaluated on how the proposed partnership will meet business goals and objectives while engaging and supporting smallholder farmers.

2. Commercial viability and sustainability
Potential for growth of the product or service in the selected market(s). Confirmation of a long-term commitment to engaging smallholder farmers in business operations should be provided. Applicants will be evaluated on how the product or services will continue to scale after project closure. Sustainability and/or exit strategy should be indicated. Applicants should provide a two-year projection of revenue, costs, and net income. The proposal should include a growth and financing strategy for at least the next two years.

3. Implementation plan
– Applicants should outline their plan for implementation including key activities/milestones to be completed and the timeframe for each. Applicants should discuss other actors and stakeholders (either within a proposed consortium or external to the partnership) that will need to be engaged to support implementation (for example, cooperatives, industry associations, marketing agents, etc.) and describe how and when that engagement will take place.

– The proposal should indicate the type of evidence or information that will be created for mainstreaming CSA into country-level agricultural practices and policies and public and private investment plans. This would include how the applicant approaches resource sustainability.

– The proposal must indicate the type of data to be collected and proposed roles and activities for the data collection. Proposals should also indicate how applicants would collaborate in research during the data collection. The proposals should also indicate how the data and research results/evidence would contribute to the scaling of the business model and broader partnership impact.

4. Smallholder and marginalized population impact
– How the business model(s) will meet business goals and objectives while engaging and supporting smallholder farmers and marginalized populations, especially women and youth. The proposals should indicate who are smallholder farmers, women, and youth and the number of those target groups the business model(s) intends to reach and how the model can increase their incomes and expand their market access.

– Especially, the proposal should demonstrate how the business model(s) will oversee opportunities of and constraints to include women along CSA scaling pathways, address challenges existing gender norms and power structures preventing women from adopting CSA, manage risks of women being left behind in the up-take of labor-saving mechanized irrigation technologies, and contextualize the products and services to the given context where women clients live and to their needs.

5. Organizational, management, and technical capacity
Applicants will be evaluated on business, management, and technical qualifications with regard to scaling products or services in smallholder markets. Applicants should articulate the organization’s experience operating in smallholder markets, identify any potential capacity gaps in systems or management, and provide solutions for filling those gaps. The proposals should present learning activities and mechanisms to enhance the capacity outcomes for the partners.


  1. Call for applications: Wednesday, 27th of October – Sunday, 4th of December
  2. Evaluation of applicants: 4th of December – 14th of January
  3. Announcement of winners: 21st of January
  4. Kick-off and begin of cooperation: 1st of February

Application process

Please read the following instructions carefully in order to successfully submit an application:

Step one: Click on “apply” below and enter your company information

  • Only the main applicant is required to fill in the application form. The main applicant is required to create a VC4A-account (free of charge)
  • The main applicant provides information on their organization in parts 1 and 2

Step two: Fill in the application of the partner applicants

  • The main applicant also enters the information of the partner applicants
  • Four additional partners can be added to the application in the form (part 3 to 6)
  • If the partnership consists of less than 5 applicants, please only fill in information for the correct amount and leave the additional fields empty
  • If the partnership consists of more than 5 applicants, please indicate so in the application form (step 3)
  • Only active partners listed in the application will be eligible for funding

Step three: Choose a bundle and fill in the application form

  • In part 7, please indicate in the drop-down list to which bundle you wish to apply
  • Download the respective application sheet (.doc) and fill it in together with your partners
  • Submit the sheet as well company registrations as well as CVs of the founders by uploading them to the upload field
  • You can always close the online application portal and return later, allowing you to work offline on the application sheet document with your partners. Your progress will be saved

Step four: Submit the application

  • After filling in the required fields and uploading your application material, please click “submit”. Only fully submitted applications will be considered
  • If you have questions at any time during the application process, please reach out to or via WhatsApp to +49 177 2994862

We look forward to your successful application!