Innovation Challenge 2021 - Advisory for Agroecology

Finals coming up soon

Innovation Challenge 2021


First selection closed

Out of 40 consortia applying from around the world 14 consortia have been invited to present their innovative concept in form of an online-pitch and to address questions by the international expert-jury.  Against this backdrop the expert-jury has taken a decision and awarded each the following six consortia with 50.000 Euro funding each for a five-month proof-of-concept.

The Six Semi-Finalists

In a nutshell, get to know the semi-finalist and their innovative ideas and learn about the jury´s assessments.


Innovative AI-Driven Beekeeping App

We will adapt a hive management app (The Beekeeper’s Companion) for Lebanon with a focus on women beekeepers and combine it with a web app for extension workers to improve advisory services and monitoring of bee health.


Agroecological Advisory through Farmer Producer Companies

This project explores an innovative advisory model for agroecological vegetable farming based on farmer producer companies in India.


Scaling-up of smallholders’ innovations for agroecology

This project builds ground for the agroecological transformation of smallholder farming in Senegal following a holistic bottom-up approach.


Digitally empowered Youth as Agroecological Change Agents

This project is aiming to digitally empower rural youth as providers of agroecological advisory in small-scale potato farming in India.


Snakes and Ladders on the way to Agroecology

This project aims at developing a concept for the transmission (and repetition) of agroecological practices in a lively and conducive environment for smallholder farming families in India and Tanzania.


Potato Diversity Monitoring and E-Commerce

This project works towards an integrated digital advisory solution linking potato biodiversity monitoring with citizen science.


Who made the decision?

Read more about the jury's background.



Hans Herren

Hans Herren

President of the Millennium ­Institute

Kristin Davis

Kristin Davis

Senior Research Fellow at IFPRI

Maria Gerster-Bentaya

Maria Gerster-Bentaya

Senior Researcher and Lecturer at the University of Hohenheim

Proof of Concept and next?

The winners will have five months time to test their approach, to adapt and refine their concept. Based on the outcomes of the proof of concept phase, in a second selection beginning of 2022, the jury will select three consortia which will be awarded with 100.000 Euro for further project implementation.

The Selection Process

May 2021 

Call for Proposals
The Innovation challenge calls for innovative ideas, concepts and tools in agricultural advisory for scaling agroecological approaches. Submission closed 31 May 2021.

First Section of six Consortia
From 40 submissions from around the world, fourteen consortia are invited to pitch their innovative ideas. Against this background the international expert-jury awards six semi-finalist.

July 2021

November 2021

During the proof of concept phase, the six semi-finalists have time to refine their ideas with support of 50,000 Euro and prepare them for the final.

Second Selection of three Consortia
Beginning of 2022, the best three finalists are selected with the perspective of receiving a further grant of 100,000 Euro.

Early 2022


From April 2022 to March 2023, the three finalists have the opportunity to implement their innovations.


Integrating agroecological approaches into agricultural advisory services. The challenge aims to identify and promote new and innovative concepts, ideas and tools in agricultural advisory that have the potential to spread agroecological approaches widely.


Achieving a world without hunger by 2030 requires targeted support to make agricultural production more resilient and more sustainable for millions of smallholder farmers in the Global South. Agroecological farm and crop management approaches have been proven to provide a wide range of both ecological and economic long-term benefits for smallholder livelihoods. However, their adoption and use by smallholder farmers require intensive training, participation and co-creation of knowledge through involvement of various actors and have therefore often been unsuccessful in reaching farming communities at a larger scale.

Special focus

Women play a key role in promoting agroecological change, however, they are often neglected by input focused, top-down and male-dominated agricultural advisory services. Advances in the digitalization of agriculture offer new opportunities for sharing complex and context-specific knowledge and for making agricultural advisory services more participatory and integrative. This becomes especially relevant in challenging times, such as in the face of the current Corona pandemic, in which agricultural advisory services have limited opportunities to reach out physically to smallholder farmers.

What we offer

Against this background, GIZ’s Innovation Challenge 2021 aims to support Innovation Partnerships with awards of up to 150,000 € to be used for testing and validating new innovative concepts and ideas integrating agroecological approaches into agricultural advisory services.

Who we are?

The Innovation Challenge 2021 is conducted by the GIZ global project “Agricultural Policy and Innovation Fund (FABI)”.


For its innovation component, FABI has set itself the goal to apply instruments successfully to promote innovation in the agricultural and food sector. In order to achieve this goal, innovations are identified, promoted and receive support in their dissemination.


FABI is commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).