The Rockefeller Foundation, Dalberg, and the International Instituite of Tropical Agriculture  (IITA) have launched The Rockefeller Foundation Cassava Innovation Challenge to address food loss and spoilage in the cassava value chain. Part of The Rockefeller Foundation’s Yieldwise Initiative, the Challenge will provide up to $1 million, as well as technical assistance from Dalberg and IITA, to further develop novel solutions that increase shelf life.

The Challenge is open to all organisations—whether for-profit or nonprofit—including governmental and inter-governmental organisations. Collaborations between organisations are encouraged. Where such collaboration exists, one lead applicant must submit on the behalf of the group.

Why Cassava and Nigeria?

Cassava is critical for food security in Africa and is the main source of nutrition for around half of the continent’s population, more than 500 million people. However, this root crop has a very short shelf life and, if unprocessed, will spoil within 72 hours after harvest.

In Nigeria—the world’s largest cassava producer (more than 20 percent of global production, producing more than 50 million tons annually)—nearly 30 million smallholder farmers grow cassava. There is limited access to existing varieties of cassava, almost no preservation from harvesting to processing, and processing is far away, which leads to spoilage.

General conditions

An organisation can apply on its own and/or join one or more Teams. If an organization were to apply more than once, the Application made by said organisation in its own capacity and/or through the Team may not be a simple duplicate or be substantially similar. The degree of similarity will be evaluated at the sole discretion of the Challenge Organizer.

Participation in the Challenge is subject to all applicable laws, regulations, and policies. The Applicants are responsible for ensuring before any submission that they can lawfully participate in the Challenge and that no laws or regulations in their jurisdictions prohibit or restrict their ability to participate.

Before any submission, the Applicants are responsible for ensuring that they comply with all the policies that may apply to them, including those prohibiting or restricting their capacity to participate in the Challenge.


A. The Challenge is open only to the following categories of eligible applicants:

(1) Organisations that exist, are incorporated, or organized or legally-registered in any way at the time of first submission. An organization can be all and any lawfully-formed legal entity operating for profit or not for profit, including governmental and inter-governmental organizations.

(2) Collaborations or partnerships of organisations (“Teams”). Applications should be made by a single organisation who would then sub-contract to its collaborators or partners with the Sponsor’s written permission (see Section 9 for more information on post-award commitments).

B. The Challenge is not open to the following categories of applicants:

(1) Individuals applying in their own capacity and not on behalf of their organization.

(2) Employees, representatives and immediate family (defined as parents, spouses, siblings, children, and first and second cousins) of the Challenge Organiser.

(3) Organisations involved in Challenge design, promotion, execution, or management.

(4) Organisations that employ a judge or an individual defined above in (3).

(5) Organisations domiciled in a country or territory that would be prohibited to participate in the Challenge and/or receive grant money if declared a winner


  • The Innovation Challenge will have a maximum grant award amount of up to US$1 million to be used to implement the solution.
  • Applicants are advised to specify an amount that is less than the award amount. If funding requirements must exceed the maximum value, applicants should provide written evidence of ability to secure additional funds (letter of commitment from partner, letter of guarantee from a bank, etc.)
  • In addition, technical assistance from Dalberg Global Development Advisors and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture will be provided. See FAQs and Official Rules for additional information.
  • Applicants must specify two discrete milestones at which funding is required: 1) initial testing and implementation and 2) significant scaling within Nigeria. Applicants are free to define what each of these milestones will entail, as well as the funding required. Awards will be disbursed according to these milestones, subject to agreement with the Innovation Challenge organizers.
  • Winners must sign a grant agreement with The Rockefeller Foundation, which will include reporting requirements, in order to receive funds.
  • The anticipated results / impact are expected to be achieved during the lifetime of the award, which in this competition is two (2) years.
  • As the problem of shelf life involves barriers at different points in the cassava value chain, more than one award may be given, and combinations of solutions may be encouraged for greater impact. The decision on the number and type of awards will depend on the number, diversity and quality of applications.
  • Applicants cannot transfer their awards to others.


Applications are open until July 8, 2016 at 11:59PM

For more information, visit The Rockefeller Foundation Cassava Innovation Challenge official page.




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