For Immediate Release
May 4, 2021

BANGKOK  The Water and Energy for Food (WE4F) Grand Challenge South and Southeast Asia Regional Hub (S/SEA RIH) announced today the 15 winners of the first S/SEA RIH Call for Innovations.

The WE4F Grand Challenge provides technical and financial assistance to companies and organizations that demonstrate scalability of innovations that impact the sectors of water and food, energy and food, or the nexus of all three (water-energy-food). Together, innovators and the S/SEA RIH can impact food security, poverty reduction, gender equality, and base of the pyramid integration while promoting environmental sustainability, climate mitigation and resilience, and the protection of nature and biodiversity. 

The first Call for Innovation awardees are from seven countries in the region and fall into three major innovation types: water-ag technology, energy-ag technology, and digital solutions that can be a combination of technologies. 

A total of $2 million in grants will be divided amongst the 11 innovators. The exact amount per innovator varies based on the results of a needs assessment conducted by the S/SEA RIH. In addition to the grants, innovators will receive technical assistance and investment facilitation. The 11 awardees are:

  1. aQysta Nepal Private Limited (Nepal) improves access to irrigation through the Barsha Pump, HyPump, and EASI-PAY financing mechanism which provides innovative technologies for farmers who lack irrigation along riverbanks.
  2. ATEC Australia-International Limited (Bangladesh)produces, distributes, and sells one of the world’s first plug-and-play biodigesters for small-scale farmers and combines them with a patented PAYGO technology.
  3. Gham Power Nepal Pvt. Ltd. (Nepal) improves access to energy through three business units: (i) solar pumps, (ii) solar power for commercial and industrial use, and (iii) micro-grids. 
  4. Khmer Green Charcoal Co. Ltd. (Cambodia, Singapore)produces and sells char-briquettes as a better and sustainable alternative to wood charcoal for cooking and efficient poultry brooding.
  5. Nandinandan Breeds & Seeds Pvt. Ltd./ The Goat Trust (India) – provides an IT-enabled digital aggregation of business support services for profitable goat farming.
  6. Oorja Development Solutions Private Limited (India) – provides integrated low-carbon agricultural energy services at the farm level and pay-per-use business models. 
  7. Promethean Spenta Technologies Pvt. Ltd. (India) – provides micro milk chillers as a service and, for farmers in areas with limited electricity, combines (i) thermal storage-based milk chilling technology with (ii) village-level refrigeration hubs.
  8. Punam Energy Pvt. Ltd / ONergy Solar (India) – promotes solar irrigation pumps among smallholder farmers and vulnerable groups and provides an inclusive financing mechanism.
  9. Pumpkin Plus Agro Innovation Limited (Bangladesh) – offers “SandBar Cropping Method,” an alternative agricultural method led by women and youth to grow crops in sand.
  10. Rural Development Organisation (India)offers a circular economy model that processes organic and inorganic waste streams to produce nitrogen-rich co-compost for vegetables and tea cultivation.
  11. Sumba Sustainable Solution (Indonesia) – enables rural off-grid communities to access to renewable energy for agro-processing, allowing women to process food in solar-powered Productive Use Centers.

The S/SEA RIH will also provide awards focused only on technical assistance and investment facilitation. The four awardees of this category are:

  1. Buen Manejo Del Campo India Pvt. Ltd./Sistema.bio (India)provides a holistic biodigester to smallholder farmers to convert animal and agricultural waste into biogas and biofertilizer.
  2. Claro Energy Private Limited (India) – provides digital intermediary linkages for farmers and solar irrigation mini-grid solutions.
  3. Tun Yat  Pte.Ltd (Myanmar) – provides an online platform that connects farmers who want to rent agricultural machinery to large-scale and individual suppliers.
  4. ZooFresh Foods Private Limited (India) – leverages digital technology and solar power to enable live fish value chain management technology that creates a zero-water-discharge model.

The Call for Innovations is an activity under Water and Energy for Food: A Grand Challenge for Development (WE4F). WE4F is an international partnership amongst the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the European Union, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of the Netherlands, Sweden through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, and the U.S. Agency for International Development. WE4F aims to increase food production, impact gender and poverty, and promote biodiversity, climate, and environmental resilience by sustainably scaling solutions to meet the challenges in the water-energy-food nexus.  

The WE4F South and Southeast Asia Regional Innovation Hub (a consortium of Tetra Tech, CrossBoundary, and Devworks International) supports the scaling-up of energy and/or water-efficient innovations in 16 countries, with a focus on women and the poor. Innovations include technologies, business and finance models, and new modes of cooperation. 

To learn more, visit:  https://we4f.org/south-and-southeast-asia and follow @WE4FGCD on Twitter.