Supporting Innovative Agriculture

Since 2011, TechnoServe has managed Agro Initiative Zimbabwe, a grant facility funded by the Department for International Development, which operates as a business competition to support sustainable innovative ideas in agriculture through monetary awards and technical assistance. The program is targeted at existing small to medium-sized businesses that have high potential to further develop the agricultural sector in the country. Since its inception the program has worked with over 40 businesses, transforming the lives of more than 54,000 smallholder farmers. The program has created over 8,500 direct jobs and out-grower opportunities. In 2014, the program was awarded a two year extension, which allowed the program to expand the client pool from 25 to 46 clients ranging from start-ups to larger firms. Through the extension, the program attracted more innovative ideas, which are being tested to assess their viability. Client's financial management systems are being strengthened, with women's participation in business and at farmer level being encouraged. The program has proven very successful, scoring highest on efficiency and value for money in an external review of five grant facilities in DFID’s Pro Poor Growth portfolio.