$50,000 Post-Harvest Loss Innovation Prize

Seeking groundbreaking solutions that empower smallholder farmers

We are seeking groundbreaking solutions that empower smallholder farmers in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa to reduce post-harvest loss.


Application Deadline: Aug 14, 2024
Contact: submissions@factore.com
Apply: Application form
Nominate: Nomination form

The Challenge:

Globally, a staggering one-third of all food produced is lost or wasted before reaching consumers. This imposes significant economic losses while contributing unnecessarily to greenhouse gas emissions along the agricultural value chain.

Among all stakeholders, food waste disproportionately impacts the 500 million smallholder farmers in emerging markets where post-harvest losses reduce income by at least 15%.

Many of these smallholder farmers live in rural areas, with most of them lacking reliable energy access. Smallholder farmers need energy not only in primary production for irrigation and harvesting, but also for processing, storage, preservation, transportation, and distribution. Thus, reducing food and post-harvest loss calls for a greater use of energy for storage, processing, and transportation in sustainable, efficient, and cost-effective ways.

The Opportunity:

Shell Foundation and the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) aims to increase farmer incomes by reducing post-harvest losses in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. To accomplish this objective, it is necessary to implement scalable, cost-effective solutions that cater to the post-harvest requirements of smallholder farmers. These solutions should encourage sustainable agricultural practices while harnessing the benefits of clean energy technologies.

By implementing sustainable and cost-effective solutions to reduce post-harvest losses, farmers can experience a trifecta of benefits: increased incomes, higher yields, and greater climate resilience. Despite the growth in the number of available solutions (e.g., cold storage units), many of the technologies currently available are too expensive for smallholder farmers.  Therefore, to encourage more smallholder farmers to adopt innovations that reduce post-harvest losses and reverse the trend of food waste, it is essential to develop solutions that are affordable, practical, and scalable for their operations.

About the Shell Foundation and Factor E Ventures

The Post Harvest Loss Innovation Prize led by Factor E Ventures, together with Shell Foundation, FCDO, ISF Advisors, MicroSave Consulting (MSC), and AndMore Associates is dedicated to uncovering the next big breakthrough in technology to reduce post-harvest losses for smallholder farmers.

Shell Foundation is a charity registered in England and Wales, founded by Shell in 2000, that creates and scales business solutions that empower underserved populations to earn a living income through clean energy technologies. It has a strategic partnership with the UK Government’s FCDO to accelerate access to energy-enabled solutions for smallholder farmers and agricultural SMEs (small and medium sized enterprises) in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

Factor E is an impact investment firm that identifies and invests in solutions to some of the world’s toughest climate and development problems. Working at the intersection of risk capital, technology, and emerging markets, Factor E accelerates the pace at which innovation positively impacts economies, environments, and communities.

About the Prize

The Post Harvest Loss Innovation Prize is seeking innovative solutions that reduce post-harvest loss for smallholder farmers in emerging markets. Funding from the prize is unrestricted.

This prize offers more than just a $50,000 financial reward for the winning applicant. Finalists gain access to a network of experienced industry leaders and receive media exposure to showcase their innovation. The winner will also benefit from access to Factor E’s post investment support . Gain the resources and recognition you need to accelerate your agritech journey, grow your innovation, and create impact.

Applications will be reviewed by the Factor E investment team, and the top five finalists will be announced on September 17th. The final award announcement will be on September 25, 2024.

How will applications be assessed?

We prioritize innovative solutions with the potential to create substantial impact within our target markets.  While not all criteria are mandatory, we evaluate submissions based on the following key factors:

  • Innovation: The innovation must be for smallholder farmers. Submissions should demonstrate a novel approach to solving a problem faced by farmers in emerging markets. Innovative solutions are defined as technologies, business models, hardware and/or software that have the potential to become commercially viable.
  • Solution Validation: We are seeking solutions that have undergone successful testing, either in a controlled laboratory environment or directly in the field.
  • Global Applicability: Innovations can come from any geography globally but must have relevance for direct application in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa with the ability to scale to other emerging markets in the future.
  • Gender Impact: We prioritize solutions with a demonstrably positive impact on female farmers.
  • Scalability and Reach: The ideal solution should have a clear path to scale with significant commercial returns in the future. The technology should have a direct economic impact with the potential to empower over 1 million farmers and demonstrate future return on investment (ROI).
  • Farm-Level Implementation: The solution should be designed for use by farmers, not through retail channels.
  • Minimal Behavioral Change: Solutions with a low barrier to adoption are preferred. They should require minimal adjustments to farmers’ existing routines.
  • Financial Traction: Evidence of progress towards financial sustainability is a positive factor. Prior fundraising success is also considered.
  • Technology Readiness Level (TRL): We look for well-developed technologies at or beyond the validation stage, with preferably existing paying customers.
  • Founding Team: A strong, balanced, and diverse founding team with a proven and visionary leader (CEO) is crucial.


Applications may be submitted by any entity including startups, universities, non-profit organizations or for-profit companies.


To ensure your application is considered, please submit it through the Google Form below by August 14, 2024:
Submit here 


Do you know a deserving candidate? We encourage nominations of qualified startups, companies, or groups!  Help us find the most promising participants by submitting your nominations through the form below:
Nominate an entity here


Request for applications begins Jun 26, 2024
Applications close Aug 14, 2024
Applications will be reviewed by the Factor E investment team from Aug 1, 2024– Sep 13, 2024
Applicants will be notified Sep 16, 2024
Finalists will be announced Sep 17, 2024
Award will be announced Sep 25, 2024

For questions about the prize or eligibility please contact submissions@factore.com


Closes August 14, 2024
Organizer Shell Foundation
Website Visit website
Targets India, Kenya, Nigeria
Sectors Agribusiness