The Malawi Innovation Challenge Fund (MICF), supported by UNDP and UKAid, is a US$8 million competitive, transparent mechanism that provides grant finance for innovative projects proposed by private sector firms active in Malawi’s agriculture and manufacturing sectors.

The main aims of the MICF are:

  • To harness the strengths of the private sector to generate and test new ideas
  • Trigger innovation, speed up the implementation of new business models or technologies, and combine potential commercial viability with high social impacts
  • Help prove the viability of new business models, and enhance the ability of these models to be replicated and scaled up on a purely commercial basis

The fund is designed to be a quick, responsive mechanism that is not overly bureaucratic and understands the needs of the private sector.

Project currently in the MICF portfolio range from low-cost water filters to supply chain traceability projects to agronomy technologies. The list of currently supported projects are available below.

For more information on the Malawi Innovation Challenge Fund, please visit http://micf.mw/

*Imani Development is local partner to Nathan Associates on the MICF.

Manufacturing Portfolio

Akray Plastics Limited introduces a new household Water Treatment and Safe Storage product in the form of low cost table-top water filters for the Malawian market.

Charles Stewart Day Old Chicks processes eggs into “Liquid Egg Products” for the domestic and regional market. In order to supplemet its requirement for eggs, a smallholder-based supply chain was set up.

Dairibord MW Ltd established an end-to-end traceability system with targeted agro-vet services for for farmers in the dairy supply chain, a first for Malawi. Through this they are able to offer a premium for high quality milk supplied by smallholder farmers.

Moringa Miracles Ltd pioneers the commercial cultivation of Moringa, and will be the first large-scale grower of Moringa in Malawi. This project will produce both leaf powder and seed oil for sale in bulk to the international wholesale health food and cosmetics industries.

Universal Industries Ltd produces Cassava Starch and Liquid Glucose. This first in Malawi is produced on large industrial scale and supplies various sectors such as Food Manufacturers, Textile Industries, and paper and plywood.

Projects Being Implemented: 6
MICF Grand Request Range: US$260,000 – US$750,000
Estimated New Jobs Created: 900 Jobs
Estimated Incomes of Poor Increased: 21,500 Households

Agriculture Portfolio

Kwitchu Kitchen, a women-led co-operative, will create an inclusive business model sourcing fresh garden tomatoes from smallholder women farmers. These tomatoes are then preserved using natural preservatives and marketed in high quality jars for the local and regional markets.

Agronomy Technology Limited is developing smallholdr.com, which is a combination of a cloud-based server and a custom mobile application that can intelligently gather and deliver information to smartphones in the hands of agribusiness extension workers and ultimately the smallholder farmers themselves.

Satemwa Tea Estates is launching a project that will form a local partnership with the aim to export high value added tea in bags to the Specialty Tea markets. The product will be a herb/flower/fruit flavoured tea, packaged in tea bags and specialty boxes.

Exagris Limited will introduce innovations in Storage Management by controlling and monitoring Aflatoxin during post-harvest storage using Ultra Hermetic Storage. It will also further track the groundnut stock to enable reliable monitoring along the route from field to export.

Afrisphere Ltd will set up a smallholder lead supply chain to process and export high value, halaal certified, meat products, backed up with end-to-end traceability throughout the value chain.

Project Being Implemented: 5
MICF Grant Request Range: US$200,000 – US$750,000
Estimated New Jobs Created: 290 Jobs
Estimated Incomes of Poor Increased: 11,800 Households