ZAMBIA – The European Union – EU Zambia office has called for agribusiness proposals from eligible Zambians to access grant funding of up-to €1 million under its Enterprise Zambia Challenge Fund.

In an emailed statement to the Zambian Business Times – ZBT, the Enterprise Zambia Challenge Fund (FED/2019/413-674)  is inviting agri-businesses in Zambia who meet the eligibility criteria to apply for financial support in the first call for proposals.

The deadline for submission of concept notes is October 3, 2020.

The statement stated that under the  “Zambia Challenge Fund, the European Union (EU) will award grants (ranging from EUR 150,000 to EUR 1 million) to eligible entities, notably agribusiness operators who demonstrate that their envisaged investments are not only innovative, but that they will also contribute to the smallholder farmers’ commercialisation and better integration into greener and more sustainable value chains development”.

The EU stated that “the project seeks to benefit around 150,000 smallholder farmers with particular attention to the creation of decent employment opportunities for women and youth”.

The Enterprise Zambia Challenge Fund is a €26 million initiative by the European Union,  which is part of the wider Support to the Sustainable Commercialisation of Zambia’s Smallholder Farmers Programme, funded to unlock, accelerate and leverage investments within agricultural value chains (including agroforestry and aquaculture).

It is a five-year agribusiness support initiative that will invest about €26 m in the sector over five years (2020-2025), which works out to be about €5 million per year.

Affordable funding is one of the challenges local agribusiness firms encounter in Zambia due to high lending rates from banks and financial institutions.

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