mFarmer Initiative Fund - GSMA & Gates Foundation

mFarmer Initiative Fund

9th Jun 2011/Ozg Grant & Fund News - skf NGO consultants: The GSMA announced at the inaugural mAgri Working Group in Cape Town, the launch of the mFarmer Initiative Fund, supported by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

About the GSMA

The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide. Spanning 219 countries, the GSMA unites nearly 800 of the world's mobile operators, as well as more than 200 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset makers, software companies, equipment providers, Internet companies, and media and entertainment organisations. The GSMA also produces industry-leading events such as the Mobile World Congress and Mobile Asia Congress.  

mFarmer Initiative Fund – An Overview

The scope of the mFarmer initiative is to facilitate the creation and scaling of mobile agricultural solutions that bridge the information gap and increase the productivity and income of rural small-holders. These new deployments will be termed as mFarmer Services to attract 2 million of the worlds' poorest farmers to become users of mFarmer Services by 2013.

Objectives of the mFarmer Initiative Fund

  1. To drive scalable, replicable and commercially successful mFarmer Services
  2. To build services that impact farmers' income and productivity
  3. To reduce the barriers for operators to launch or improve mFarmer Services
  4. To test and prove models for delivering mFarmer Services via mobile phones
  5. To promote a culture of knowledge sharing in the mFarmer ecosystem

mFarmer Initiative Challenge Fund

The mFarmer Initiative Challenge Fund exists to support the deployment of agricultural information and advisory services at scale via the mobile channel to small-holder farmers who earn less than $2 dollars a day.

The Fund is available over a period of two years and is supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The components of the mFarmer Fund include:

  1. Allocation for disbursements to selected applicants of between $100,000 and $400,000
  2. Provision of bespoke, digital agriculture content via an online database
  3. Technical Assistance to support the development of applications and the implementation of mFarmer Services
  4. Sharing of best practices and learnings
  5. Qualitative and quantitative impact evaluation of global mFarmer Services

Grant Application Information –


Before considering applying for mFarmer Initiative fund, please get the expert info and advice from skf NGO consultants or Ozg NGO Consulting and Ozg Social Investment Consulting.


Eligible projects can qualify for funding if they can demonstrate the following criteria:

  1. The project will involve a mobile communications service provider in partnership or consortium with one or more organisations that are using, or planning to use, mobile communications to provide agricultural information and advice to poor smallholder farmers;
  2. The project will include the use of the mobile communications channel as a significant element of its delivery model;
  3. The project will directly result in significantly increased access to affordable agricultural information and advisory services by smallholder farmers who are living on under US$2 per day;
  4. The agricultural information and advisory services will provide information and advice of sufficient relevance, range and quality to be of utility to smallholder farmers;  
  5. The project will involve a commercial business model for the provision of agricultural information and advisory services that will be sustainable after the period of grant funding; and
  6. The project will demonstrate how it will provide equitable access to female smallholder farmers.

The Geographical Coverage of the mFarmer Fund

  1. South Asia: India
  2. Sub-Saharan Africa: Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia

How to Apply

The mFarmer Initiative Challenge Fund is being managed by Coffey International Development Ltd. Application is a two stage process. Initially a short concept note to outline the project should be submitted for consideration. Those with eligible concept notes will then be asked to submit a full application setting out the detailed business case for the proposal. Technical assistance is available to those applicants asked to enter the second stage.


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