Our Funds

To achieve FoodTrade ESA’s vision of “unlocking trade across borders and across the region to get more food to more people”, the programme utilises two instruments: a Challenge Fund – to catalyse innovative private sector investment in regional staple food markets — and a Development Fund – to facilitate dialogue and action around the key blockages to the development of regional staple food markets and to fund targeted interventions in partnership with relevant institutions, organisations and companies.

To date, FoodTrade ESA has launched three challenge fund windows. Each window has had a special focus but all have had the larger aim of unlocking regional staple food trade and creating positive impact by delivering increased employment and income, improved staple prices, improved access to markets, inputs and services, and increased volumes traded.

Through the Challenge Fund FoodTrade ESA challenges for-profit companies to develop new business models that provide solutions to food staple market failures while delivering commercial benefits. Innovations must have both national and cross border impact, supporting staple food trade in at least two of the nine focus countries of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique and Malawi. FoodTrade ESA provides partial funding of up to 49% to these competitively selected investments. To date, investments have ranged from £450,000 to just under £1 million.

Our Latest Challenge Fund Projects


The Development Fund works parallel to the Challenge Fund, investing in other governmental or non-governmental, not-for-profit entities with innovative ideas that connect smallholders to regional markets.

The Development Fund invests in policy dialogue between private sector and policymakers, and other targeted interventions that improve the functioning of regional staple food markets. To date, our Development Fund investments have ranged from £890,214 to £1.3 million.

Our Latest Development Fund Projects