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RAPID Banana Project

Tanzania and Uganda

RAPID BANANA

2019-2022

MEDA, Context Global Development (CGD) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are collaborating to commercialize seed multiplication technologies, and new models that drive private sector investment into banana seed systems in Tanzania and Uganda.

Overview

RAPID

The project name “RAPID” is an acronym derived from elements of the project title: RTB (Roots, Tubers & Bananas) Accelerator for rapid Propagation Innovations and Distribution of seeds.

Goal

The goal of RAPID Banana is to get new and improved, higher yielding varieties of banana to farmers in Uganda and Tanzania at accessible and affordable price

Reach

The direct beneficiaries of the investment are the 10-15 banana / vegetatively propagated crops (VPC) grantee companies that receive both capital investment and technical assistance over the course of the project. There will be additional beneficiaries related to the increased capacity of these companies including employees and their families.

Context

Bananas, cassava and sweet potato are three staple crops that reproduce via vegetative propagation, a daughter plant growing from a piece of its mother plant. In the Great Lakes region of East Africa (Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya), banana’s importance is pronounced by being the most significant contributor for small farmer livelihood and greatest agricultural contributor to national income.

Opportunity

Banana demand is high. However, the level of production farmers realize is extremely low because common varieties planted are highly susceptible to pests and diseases in both field environments and throughout the planting process. Many farmers are trapped in a productivity paradox year after year, where poor-quality seed is planted, low yields are realized, and improved varieties of banana are not available because the systems to deliver them are not cost-effective for income-constrained smallholder farmers. Low multiplication rates as well as inefficient business operations and distribution models are the biggest drawbacks from improving the vitality of a formal seed system. In result, nursery operations and tissue culture labs operate at too high a cost to broaden the use of improved seed.

Strategy

RAPID is a 4-year project led by MEDA and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The project is developed and implemented in collaboration with partner and subgrantee Context Global Development (CGD), a sister organization to The Context Network. The Context Network provides agribusiness strategy and management consulting services globally. The RAPID project will improve banana seed distribution systems in Tanzania and Uganda by commercializing seed multiplication technologies and creating new business models that drive private sector investment into banana seed systems. This will be achieved through the following interventions:

  • Establishing efficient connections between national research institutions in Tanzania and Uganda with private sector companies producing early generation banana.
  • Pilot and scale new technologies that improve multiplication rates and operational efficiency of tissue culture labs and nursery operations to drive down costs and make a viable candidate for investment.
  • Implement new technologies and improved business models that optimize operations of banana seed producers leading to establish efficient distribution to small farmers in need of new banana varieties and quality seed.
RAPID Banana Project
RAPID Banana Project
RAPID Banana Project

Innovation Fund Call Announcement

This innovation fund call is called Validation Phase. The objective of this call is to pilot and scale new technologies that improve multiplication rates and operational efficiency of tissue culture labs and nursery operations to drive down costs and make a viable candidate for investment.

Following is the process to participate in this fund opportunity:

 

1. All applicants are requested to submit “Intent to Participate” in the call by completing the form.

Applicants will be invited for a follow-up Zoom/Skype call to answer any questions/ queries regarding the application process. Deadline to submit your Intent to Participate is by August 27th 2019.

2. Download the Application Package. The Application Package contains the Application Proposal Form, Budget Template and Application Guidelines.

3. Complete the Online Application Form to submit your concept / application. The deadline to submit your Application is by September 27th 2019.

Partners

Bill & Melinda Gates
CGD