On June 5th at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, the Water and Energy for Food (WE4F) Grand Challenge announced the formation of Regional Innovation Accelerators. WE4F is a merger of two global Grand Challenge programs managed by USAID and previously supported by the Swedish government through Sida, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) , the Dutch government and the South African government as well as Duke Energy Cooperation and the Overseas Private Investment Cooperation (OPIC): “Powering Agriculture: An Energy Grand Challenge for Development” (PAEGC) and “Securing Water for Food” (SWFF), both of which run through 2019.
PAEGC supports new and sustainable approaches to accelerate the development and deployment of clean energy solutions for increasing agriculture productivity and/or value in developing countries. The program has run two global calls for innovations that resulted in 24 selected innovators. The supported clean energy solutions utilize a variety of clean and efficient fuel sources including solar PV, biomass and target agriculture applications ranging from irrigation to cold storage to post-harvest processing.
SWFF aims to promote science and technology solutions that enable the production of more food with less water and/or make more water available for food production, processing, and distribution. Since the program began, SWFF’s 40 innovators have helped more than 6 million farmers save or reallocate more than 19 billion liters of water to the food value chain and have produced more than 6 million tons of food, while mobilizing $22M in additional funding. The supported innovators developed a variety of technologies reaching from aquaponics systems to drought warning systems to irrigation scheduling systems.
WE4F is designed to scale innovations that impact the sectors food and water, food and energy, or all three sectors of the nexus (food, water, energy) to increase the sustainability of agricultural food value chains and climate adaptation in developing countries and emerging markets – with a particular focus on the poor and women.
WE4F aims to create a more supportive, interconnected, and ultimately enabling environment for its stakeholders and future partners.
The objective of WE4F is to expand the scale of innovations that impact these sectors to increase the sustainability of agricultural food value chains and climate adaptation in developing countries and emerging markets – with a particular focus on the poor and women. To achieve this goal, WE4F will support innovators in order to harness market forces to bring their innovations to scale. The effort must include partners from the private sector, NGOs, research institutions, and other donors who share the common goal of increasing food production through sustainable water and energy usage.
Central among the themes and objectives of Water and Energy for Food (WE4F) Grand Challenge is the establishment of an “enabling environment” in which innovators can secure the resources that they need to succeed. Obstacles have ranged from the lack of private financing to risks grounded in the regions where innovators have operated. With this lesson in mind, the WE4F aims to create a more supportive, interconnected, and ultimately enabling environment for its stakeholders and future partners.
Furthermore, WE4F will engage in ongoing advocacy for its enabling environment—a key function of both the Regional Innovation Accelerators. By expanding knowledge exchange and networking among innovators as well as with other stakeholders in the social and policy environments.