The RAPID program seeks to enable new business models using rapid-multiplication technologies to drive private sector investment into banana seed systems.
Phase One: Seed Sector Landscaping
2019 - 2020
East Africa market landscape study identifying existing seed companies and production volumes.
Phase Two: Pilot Validation
2020 - 2021
Prototype-scale matching grants distributed for innovative validation pilots set to run for one year.
Phase Three: Testing at Scale
2021 - 2023
Two-year scale-up matching grants disbursed to build successful pilots into viable market solutions.
The RAPID program innovation fund is designed to issue matching grants that catalyze seed sector company growth. Upon completion of the Market Landscaping Study, an open call for proposals solicited applications from around 40 companies for funding to pilot and test-at-scale new technologies and models driving improvements in operational efficiency, unit pricing, and seed production volumes to improve seed businesses benefit to farmers.
Applications were submitted by private-sector banana seed companies from across Great Lakes region of Africa with a focus on Uganda and Tanzania. Proposal innovations varied across the spectrum, from new functional lab technologies and process innovations, to nursery operations advancements and improved distribution pathways to banana producers.
Validation Phase matching grants for one-year pilots have a funding range of $10k to $15k. A dozen private-sector seed companies were selected with the aim of validating seed production innovations.
In the Scaling Phase, two-year scale-up matching grants of $75k to $120k will be offered to the top five to seven performing pilots.