The Challenge FundFinancial Support

Call for concept notes for the first round of applications is now closed

The second round will open on 27th June 2019

Financial supportThe Award

The AgriFI Kenya Challenge Fund is looking to award an indicative amount of EUR 18,000,000 to agri-enterprises as financial support.

Any financial support requested from AgriFI Kenya Challenge Fund in the first call must fall within the following range:

  • Minimum amount: Euro 200,000
  • Maximum amount: Euro 1,000,000

The Challenge Fund will award financial support to cover a maximum of 50% of the total value of the proposal. The balance (i.e. the difference between the total cost of the proposal and the amount requested as financial support) must be financed from matching funds in the form of cash/cash equivalents, credit or equity from external financiers. In cases where applications are made by consortia the match fund contributions can be provided by any of the consortia members.

The financial support will require match funding from the agri-enterprise making the application. The match funding may be through own resources available to the agri-enterprise or may be sourced through external finance such as credit or external equity investment. Match funding can also come from co-applicants. The European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Union Bank, is considering providing long-term financing in Kenya Shillings to selected local commercial bank(s) for on-lending to eligible agriculture sector projects. The EIB will communicate further details to the public once financing agreements with the bank (s) have been put in place.

Duration of Financial Support

The minimum duration of the financial support will be 24 months while the maximum will be 36 months. During this period the financial support funds will be disbursed based on a negotiated milestone structure.

Financial supportCalls for Financial Support

Window One

Closed on 26th November 2018

Window Two

Opens in April 2019

Window Three

To Be Announced

Financial Support


The AgriFI Kenya Challenge Fund is aiming to support projects put forward by small and medium sized agri-enterprises with business models that are integrating smallholder farmers into value chains. The agri-enterprises need to show how they are benefitting smallholder farmers. This may be through the establishment of a new activity or expansion of existing activities in all nodes of the value chain or in a specific node of a value chain.

Additional eligibility criteria for the agri-enterprises are:

  • Must be duly incorporated in Kenya as a company or a cooperative.
  • Must be compliant with all national and local laws and regulations including but not limited to tax regulation, health and safety and environmental standards.
  • Must be a for-profit entity; not-for-profit organisations and government bodies are not eligible to apply as lead applicants. However, they can contribute to projects as co-applicants.
  • Must be willing and able to at least match the sum of financial support requested to fund the activities of the proposal through a blend of cash and cash equivalents, credit or equity from own or third-party sources.
  • Must provide evidence in the project proposal of current or future integration of smallholder farmers/pastoralists in existing or new value chain(s) in the project’s areas.
  • The business must have at least three (3) years of uninterrupted operations with a focus on any or a combination of the thematic areas of the AgriFI Kenya Challenge Fund programme.
  • Must have a yearly turnover in the range of EUR 200,000 to EUR 50,000,000.
  • Must have an asset base of less than EUR 43,000,000.
  • Must have audited accounts for the two (2) most recent years. The audited accounts should have been prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) by an accountant accredited by the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK).

Applicants may submit their business plans in consortium with other companies: in this case, the above criteria will apply only to the lead applicant.

Financial Support


Any agri-enterprise will be excluded from participation in this financial support procedure if:

  • it is bankrupt, subject to insolvency or winding-up procedures, where its assets are being administered by a liquidator or by a court, where it is in an arrangement with creditors, where its business activities are suspended, or where it is in any analogous situation arising from a similar procedure provided for under national laws or regulations;
  • it has been established by a final judgment or a final administrative decision that the agri-enterprise is in breach of its obligations relating to the payment of taxes or social security contributions in accordance with the law of the country in which it is established,
  • it has been established by a final judgment or a final administrative decision that the agri-enterprise is guilty of grave professional misconduct by having violated applicable laws or regulations or ethical standards of the profession to which the agri-enterprise belongs, fraudulently or negligently misrepresenting information required for the verification of the absence of grounds for exclusion or the fulfilment of selection criteria or in the performance of a contract;
  • entering into agreement with other economic operators with the aim of distorting competition;

Financial supportEligible Actions to be Funded

This call will fund for profit initiatives, which results in a measurable positive impact on thousands of smallholder farmers/pastoralists either as customers or suppliers. The nature of actions that can be funded through financial support under this programme include the following:

Initiatives that reach smallholder farmers to improve agricultural productivity, market access, post-harvest handling, food safety or other impact. The initiatives may include (but are not limited to):
  • Improving the quality and/or the access to inputs;
  • Provision of extension services to smallholder farmers;
  • Promoting the production of nutritious foods;
  • Promoting of climate smart, soil and water conservation technologies;
  • Promoting the smallholders’ capacity to comply with quality and standards certification;
  • Reducing post-harvest handling and losses;
  • Promoting access to innovative and affordable financial services for smallholder farmers
Initiatives that develop the management, operational and supporting business processes that are directly linked to improving the integration of smallholder farmers/pastoralists within the supply chain of a businesses and improve on their efficiencies; this may include energy saving technology.