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Top 10 Grants for Agricultural Startups in Nigeria

By Oluchukwu Ikemefuna

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The agricultural sector in Nigeria is full of potential, but most of the innovative startups have not been funded to reach their potential. In come the grants for agricultural startups, acting as that helping hand in establishing new ideas and building successful businesses. 

Otherwise known as funding for agricultural startups or agritech grants, these are monetary aids dedicated to young companies in Nigeria that are developing solutions to revolutionize the present agricultural landscape.

In this article, we will walk you through the top 10 grants available for Nigerian agricultural startups: breaking down eligibility criteria, application processes, and the kind of support they offer. 

So, whether you’re building a mobile app to connect farmers with markets or a sensor-based precision irrigation system, continue reading to find the grant likely to catapult your agritech dream to the next level!

Understanding Grants for Agricultural Startups 

Grants for Agriculture startups are a financial seed to sow young business ideas in a bid to give them a chance to grow. This grant funds startups working in varied innovative ways on solutions for farmers, ranchers, or rural communities.

This money can be utilized in developing new technologies, bringing efficiency into farming practices, or promoting sustainable agriculture. There can be grants from government organizations, non-profits, and even private entities—each with its focus area.

A grant win could be transformational to a startup, giving them the wherewithal to pursue their ideas and actually change things by making real impacts on agriculture.

Read Also – Latest List of Federal Government Loans and Grants in Nigeria 2024

What Are the Types of Grants and Funding for Agricultural Startups?

Before one delves deep into applying, it would be proper to understand the various agricultural grants and funding available in Nigeria. They are broadly divided into the following categories:

  1. Government Grants: They are usually provided by various government agencies, mostly the Ministry of Agriculture and its relatives. They would most likely be in the form of a loan subsidy, loan, or grant.
  1. NGO and Donor Grants: Many NGOs and international donors are more likely to fund different agricultural projects, especially those targeting sustainability and food security, together with rural development.
  1. Private Sector Funding: Many private sector organizations, especially banks and agribusinesses, are prone to finance agricultural entrepreneurs through loans or equity investments, or by way of grants.
  1. Research Grants: Grants from institutions in agriculture, universities, or research work may contribute to work that will go a long way in benefitting agriculture.
  1. Cooperative Grants: Some cooperatives or associations of agriculturalists are able to fund their members for some sort of initiative, such as equipment purchase or infrastructure works.

There exist varieties of funds that finance agricultural ventures, all with their own application procedures. In this regard, one ought to undertake a little homework to find financing options that best suit one’s agricultural project or business.

What Are the Top 10 Grants for Agricultural Startups in Nigeria?

Several major funding opportunities open calls for proposals on agriculture projects across Nigeria. Here are list of 10 grants to consider applying for:

  1. Arrell Global Food Innovation Awards 
  2. U.S. African Development and Ekiti State Government Grant
  3. SMEDAN Conditional Grant Scheme
  4. Small Grants for African Heritage Projects
  5. The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF)
  6. GAIN Micro Grant for Empowerment
  7. A Pitch AgriHack Challenge
  8. AYuTe Africa Challenge in Nigeria
  9. GroFin Fund
  10. NIRSAL (Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending)

1. Arrell Global Food Innovation Awards 

Grants for  Agricultural Startups

The Arrell Global Food Innovation Awards recognizes people making a meaningful contribution to global food security. The prize consists of two awards of $100,000 CAD annually.

One prize goes to a researcher or group that has made outstanding contributions to improve knowledge production, processing, and distribution, which helped lessen hunger and improve nutrition in the human diet. The other prize goes to those who have either established or strengthened organizations dedicated to better nutrition or food security for disadvantaged communities.

Eligibility

  • Citizens of any country are eligible for nomination, regardless of gender, race, religion, creed, or residency.
  • Nominations can be sent from private companies, academic institutions, governmental units, charitable foundations, and non-profit organizations.

How to Apply

  • Log in to the Arrell Food Institute website and submit a nomination for the Arrell Food Innovation Awards.
  • The number of applications per organization is limited to one per award.
  • Nomination packages are kept strictly confidential, with the identity of nominators, nominating organizations, and nominees kept in strict confidence.

2. U.S. African Development and Ekiti State Government Grant

Grants for  Agricultural Startups

The USADF, in partnership with the Ekiti state government of Nigeria, provides grants between $50,000 and $250,000 to farmer cooperatives/producer groups/ agribusinesses working on projects within the rice and cassava value chains.

Eligibility

  • Your startup must be registered and in operation in Nigeria.
  • You have to clearly demonstrate a liking for livelihood improvement in terms of agricultural development within Ekiti State.
  • This can be in terms of employment opportunities, food security, or even sustainable means of farming.

How to Apply 

  • Download the application form and send the proposal to nigeriaekiti@usadf.gov
  • The call for applications for this grant may periodically be announced. Check the website of the U.S. African Development Foundation

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3. SMEDAN Conditional Grant Scheme

Grants for  Agricultural Startups

The SMEDAN Conditional Grant Scheme is an initiative of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, SMEDAN, in support of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises in Nigeria. 

The scheme is proposed to provide a conditional grant of up to N50,000.00 to micro, small, and medium enterprises that have properly registered their businesses with SMEDAN.

Eligibility

  • The business must be registered with SMEDAN
  • Business must be a micro, small, or medium enterprise MSME
  • The business shall be a going concern and operating in Nigeria

How to Apply

  • Go to the SMEDAN website to register the business
  • Fill out the registration form, then fill it up with documents that would be required
  • Obtain an Identification Number and a Certificate from SMEDAN
  • Apply for the Conditional Grant Scheme after logging into the SMEDAN website

The SMEDAN Conditional Grant Scheme is set up to improve the chances of MSMEs in Nigeria, particularly in terms of better access to funds, training, and support services. Businesses, by registering with SMEDAN and applying for its Conditional Grant Scheme, are provided with support to aid growth and development.

4. Small Grants for African Heritage Projects

Grants for  Agricultural Startups

The Heritage Management Organization offers mini-grants of $5000 – $ 50,000 to individuals, groups, and organizations working with heritage in different parts of Africa. The grants are offered through the Heritage Management Project – Africa under its Humanities in Place Programme.

Eligibility

  • The project must be an organization, group, or individual working on heritage in Africa
  • The projects must be protection and/or promotion of local heritage for socio-economic development.
  • The projects shall incorporate elements of sustainability, capacity development, network building, and concrete and community impact.

How to Apply

  • Log on to the Heritage website and fill out the concept note application form
  • Fill out the application form then wait for further instructions

5. The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF)

Grants for  Agricultural Startups

The Tony Elumelu Foundation is the leading continental philanthropy concerned with entrepreneurship and economic development. TEF grants funding to any startup or small business operating in any sector, including agriculture.

Eligibility

  • Startups or small businesses operating in the agricultural sector
  • Business based in Africa
  • The business owner must be 18 years or older.
  • Business must have a valid business plan

How to Apply

  • Log into the TEF website to register and open an account
  • Fill out the application form and attach a business plan
  • Allow the selection process to be completed. 

6. GAIN Micro Grant for Empowerment

Grants for  Agricultural Startups

The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) is providing one-of-a-kind funding support to Nigerian agribusinesses that are working to improve nutrition. Equity-free grants are available to select small and medium-sized firms in Kaduna, Benue, Nasarawa, and Oyo states that focus on biofortified crops.

This new effort intends to increase biofortified food production and sales, hence helping Nigerian consumers. 

Eligibility

  • Applicants must be Nigerian and over the age of 18.
  • Individuals must have completed CAC business registration one year previously, whereas entities such as cooperatives must have done so three years prior.
  • Operations must be based in the targeted states.

How to Apply

Go to the GAIN micro-grants official website and click the ‘Apply Here’ button at the bottom of the page. 

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7. A Pitch AgriHack Challenge

Grants for Agricultural Startups

The Pitch AgriHack Challenge is a call for ideas that support young agricultural entrepreneurs in Nigeria. Through the challenge, startups can have their ideas pitched and win funding with mentorship.

The Pitch AgriHack Challenge identifies and supports innovative, scalable business ideas with high job creation potential and a positive contribution to the growth of the agricultural sector in Nigeria.

The competition is open to any young entrepreneurs with innovative ideas or solutions that might transform the Agricultural sector.

Eligibility

  • A young entrepreneur between 18 and 35 years
  • Startups shall be involved in the agricultural sector
  • A business based in Nigeria
  • Applicants with an innovative idea or solution

How to Apply

  • Log on to the Pitch AgriHack website to register and create an account.
  • Fill out the application form and submit your pitch video
  • Wait to be shortlisted
  • Pitch and compete for funding and mentorship

Note: The Pitch AgriHack Challenge is competitive, and therefore, only the best ideas and solutions will be selected.

8. AYuTe Africa Challenge in Nigeria

Grants for Agricultural Startups

Heifer International has launched an enterprise development program—AYuTe Africa Challenge in Nigeria to identify, nurture, and support innovative and technology-driven agric-centric enterprises.

The program seeks to empower early-stage agritech businesses or startups that are youth-led and have unique, innovative solutions impacting smallholder farmers.

Those selected will compete for prizes in the form of grant money or investment to support growth and scale. This year, the prize money increased from $20,000 to as high as $40,000.

Eligibility

  • Early-stage or growth-stage youth-led agritech businesses/companies
  • Innovative solutions impacting smallholder farmers at scale

How to Apply

  • Visit the website to apply

9. GroFin Fund

Grants for Agricultural Startups

GroFin Fund is a Nigerian financing solution for SMEs. This fund shall provide financing and business technical assistance to SMEs that operate in the agricultural value chain.

The GroFin Fund aims to address part of the challenges SMEs face in accessing finance-to-scale technologies.

Eligibility

  • SMEs operating in the agricultural value chain.
  • The business must be based in Nigeria.
  • Applicants must have a valid business plan.

How to Apply

  • Log into GroFin’s website and make your registration
  • Fill out the application form and attach the business plan
  • Wait for the selection process

10. NIRSAL (Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending)

Grants for Agricultural Startups

The NIRSAL program is an initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria to improve access to finance among agriculture value chain players. The fund provides incentives and risk-sharing mechanisms that encourage Banks to lend to Agriculture businesses.

Eligibility

  • Agriculture Businesses, Value Chain Players
  • Businesses must be based in Nigeria
  • Applicants must have a valid Business plan

How to Apply

  • Visit the website of NIRSAL and register or open an account.
  • Fill up the application form together with a business plan
  • Wait for the selection process to be completed

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How to Write a Perfect Agriculture Business Grant Proposal

A good agriculture business grant proposal should be logically based on the goals of the funding agency and its objectives, followed by a good proposal write-up. Here are steps that will help you to successfully write an agriculture business grant proposal:

  1. Research the funding Agency: Get to know the priorities of the funding agency, their goals, and objectives. Enable your proposal in areas of interest.
  1. Clearly define the project concept: State the purpose, objectives, and expected results of the project venture. It needs to solve some agricultural needs or problems.
  1. Needs assessment: Present what particular needs or challenges are being addressed by your project. Indicate data and statistics to back up any such claims.
  1. Develop a project plan: The activities involved in the project, timelines, and budget should be indicated. Ensure it is realistic and achievable.
  1. Bring out the experience of your team: Clearly state in your proposal the relevant skills, experience, and qualifications that exist within the team to execute a certain project, and express it clearly.
  1. Impact and sustainability: spell out how your project will benefit agriculture, local communities, and the environment. Try to describe how activities will be sustained in the long term and what kind of impact that will bring during the implementation.
  1. Detailed budget: You need to have a clear, justified breakup based on some organizational structure from the funding agency.
  1.  Prepare a persuasive narrative: The words used should be lucid and clear; the most vital technical terms are to be explained or clarified. Be sure to make it easy to read and understand your proposal.
  1. Edit and edit and proofread: Carefully go through your proposal for perfection, accuracy, no errors, or polishing.
  1. Send a completed application: Attach documents and attachments in order as required.

Remember, a fine grant proposal takes some real time and effort to be written. Start early, and do not hesitate to request assistance as needed. 

Read Also – Google Backs South African News Media Amid Plans for Big Tech Fund

How to Choose the Right Grant for Agriculture Startups in Nigeria 

Grant selection for Nigerian agritech startups is based on understanding your stage, goals, and grant specifics.

  1. Self-assess: What stage is your startup? What agricultural area does it target? How does it create impact?
  1. Research Options: Government grants, donor grants (development organizations, foundations), and private grants (corporations, NGOs).
  1. Match criteria: Be sure that, indeed, a startup meets the eligibility criteria of the grant in terms of stage and team size, technologies and sectors of focus area, and measurement of impact.

Through these steps, be one step towards the best grants aimed at fueling your venture in agritech. Just remember, research is key!

Final Thoughts 

These top 10 grants for agricultural startups in Nigeria give entrepreneurs the much-needed capital to innovate and grow in the agritech sector.

Grants for agricultural startups serve to give businesses quite a key financing, thereby standing to have expansion, enhance efficiency, and boost productivity.

Whether just starting out or looking to scale, such opportunities can be a game-changer for your agribusiness.

We’d love to hear your thoughts! Leave a comment below and follow us on Facebook at Silicon Africa, Instagram at Siliconafricatech, and Twitter at @siliconafritech for more updates on funding for agricultural startups and other agritech grants.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Are there grants specifically for new agricultural startups?

Yes, some grant programs target early-stage businesses. Look for grants with terms like “seed funding” or “startup incubator” programs.

Do all grants want me to give up equity in my startup?

Not all grants require equity in exchange. Grants are normally awarded as non repayable funds, while investments often involve some kind of ownership stake.

What kind of agricultural startups can qualify for grants?

Most grants focus on innovation and initiatives that can solve the challenges in agriculture in Nigeria. Identify whatever is in line with your goals for the startup, like promoting sustainable practices, improving efficiency, or matching farmers with markets.

How much funding could one realistically be expected to receive from an agricultural startup grant in Nigeria?

The amount of money varies from one program to another and is contingent on the nature or aspect of the project in question. There are grants that can provide seed funding and others providing fairly larger amounts.

How difficult is it to win a grant for an agri-tech startup in Nigeria?

While competition for grants may be fiercely competitive, backing up a great proposal with explicit social impact markedly yields better odds.

Reference 

  • agramondis.com – Grant Funding Opportunities for Agri-SMEs in Nigeria (July 2022)
  • www.linkedin.com – Top 10 Agriculture Business Grants In Nigeria 

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Onyinyechi Ikemefuna
Onyinyechi Ikemefuna

Ikemefuna Onyinyechi Patience, a skilled Content Writer hailing from Anambra State Nigeria, holds a Higher National Degree in microbiology from Federal Polytechnic Oko, Anambra. Armed with robust research and SEO expertise, she excels in crafting articles spanning technology, finance, healthcare, education, and lifestyle. Her work stands out for its ability to authentically inspire and engage while inciting action. Beyond her writing prowess, Ikemefuna finds joy in reading, exploring movies, and delving into continuous research, contributing to her growth as a proficient writer.

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