Sahaj Challenge Fund-3 seeks service providers with innovative Branding or Packaging or Distribution Channel Services

May 26, 2023 12:34 PM Merolagani


The official launch of Sahaj Challenge Fund (SCF) took place on Thursday, 25 May 2023 at the Hotel Ambassador, Lazimpat in Kathmandu, bringing together various media houses, thematic experts. and representatives from Swisscontact, CEAPRED and Practical Action Consulting.

Issuing a press statement, SCF informed that it will support service providers with innovative solutions to solve existing bottlenecks in branding, packaging, and distribution channel services in the value chains of maize, cardamom, vegetable and dairy products with disruptive innovation at the core.

 During the press meet, Rick van der Kamp- Team Leader Sahaj Challenge Fund gave a brief description of NAMDP and their work in the Koshi Province.

“Through Sahaj Challenge Fund, NAMDP aims to stimulate innovation in the agricultural sector”, says van der Kamp.

Similarly, Subhechchha Shrestha- Manager-Agriculture Services- NAMDP also spoke about SCF, its importance, the different rounds that have been implemented and the impact created by it.

“SCF is designed for service providers in agricultural processing as improvements in processing would be advantageous to farmers in the form of value-addition, resulting in higher income and employment generation”, Shrestha adds.

From Practical Action Consulting, Adhish Karki, Team Leader for the Challenge Fund spoke about how round-3 of the Challenge Fund will be taken forward and the kinds of support that can be received from it. He mentioned that with financial support ranging from NPR 5 to 50 lakhs per project, SCF will co-finance the costs involved in developing and piloting business models and solutions tailored to the Koshi Province.”

However, the challenge fund will not support purchase of equipment and machinery, though it will provide technical assistance to applicants if required. The project’s branding and packaging theme expert Anuj Shrestha and distribution channel expert Dibeev Bhakta Shrestha also spoke about the challenges in their respective themes and how the challenge fund will work to sustainable change through disruptive innovation in them.

“Not many companies in Nepal are working in sustainable branding and packaging solutions. This Challenge Fund would be a beneficial step towards helping local producers innovate such solutions”, mentions Anuj Shrestha.

“SCF supports service providers to use new trade channels, benefit from new strategic alliances, and utilize product placements and digitalization to improve their channel of distribution”, adds Dibeev Bhakta Shrestha.

With applications now open for the Challenge Fund, the call for application will end on 20th June 2023.

After completion of the application period, applicants will undergo the first round of screening and applicants will be asked to submit a full proposal. Applicants who reach the second round will undergo further screening and winners of the second round will be provided support from the Challenge Fund.

SCF round 3 seeks to support a maximum of 5 business in this round.

Sahaj Challenge Fund organized the event, bringing together key media houses and stakeholders and facilitating the discussion to disseminate the relevant information regarding the Challenge Fund such that more agribusinesses are aware of the opportunity to develop their innovative ideas into successful businesses. With its bespoke financial and technical service support, Sahaj aims to improve access to services and foster innovation for service providers and contribute to a higher level of commercialization and economic value-addition in the agricultural sector.

“Rounds 3 and 4 of Sahaj Challenge Fund will focus on product development and quality improvement, focusing on service providers working to link production with consumer demand through analyzing the existing markets and supporting private sector to invest in market development”, adds Subhechchha Shrestha as her final statement.

Funded by Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the Nepal Agricultural Market Development Programme (NAMDP), or Sahaj, aims to build a thriving and inclusive agriculture sector in Nepal by catalyzing income and employment growth in Nepal’s rural population. While NAMDP has already implemented Sahaj Challenge Fund Round-1 in logistical services and round-2 in the dairy value chain, round-3 will focus on innovative branding, packaging and distribution channel services within the dairy, maize, cardamom and vegetable value chains. In round-3 of the challenge fund, Practical Action Consulting will work as the implementing partner for Swisscontact.


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