Malawi Innovation Challenge Fund (MICF) Irrigation Window Program 2017

Malawi Innovation Challenge Fund (MICF) Irrigation Window Program 2017

Deadline: November 3, 2017

The Malawi Innovation Challenge Fund (MICF) is a US$ 14 million competitive, transparent mechanism that provides grant finance for innovative projects proposed by the private sector active in Malawi’s agricultural, manufacturing and logistics sectors. Supported by the United Nations Development Programme, UK Aid and KFW, the MICF is designed to be a quick, responsive mechanism that is not overly bureaucratic and understands the needs of the private sector.

Introduce new initiatives that deliver new products, services and business models that link smallholder producers to markets by increasing the production of crops under irrigation, leading to viable self-financed cultivation of irrigated crops.

This could be by way of:

  • Improving the technology and coverage of existing irrigation systems that incorporate smallholder producers;
  • Introducing irrigation systems to raise productivity of smallholder crops for both export and domestic markets; or
  • Developing more energy efficient irrigation systems that match the resources available to poorer smallholder producers in Malawi, to improve productivity and ultimately the incomes they receive from their agricultural products.


  • The total grant funds requested must be between US$100,000 and US$ 500,000.


  • The lead organisation must be a private for-profit company. Only in exceptional cases will MICF consider new businesses (start-ups), where there is strong evidence that the new company has credible and experienced investors and a solid management team;
  • The business idea must be implemented in Malawi; either by private sector organisations registered in Malawi or externally registered businesses investing in Malawi;
  • The applicant company may collaborate with other organizations, including non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and community organisations, and farmers’ organisations. however, it is a condition that the lead applicant and implementer of the business idea must always be a commercial company/business;
  • All applicants must demonstrate their capacity to implement their proposed project, and will need to demonstrate sound financial performance and clear corporate governance;
  • The MICF Irrigation Window will support initiatives that deliver new products, services, and business models that incorporate smallholder producers through the use of irrigation services into higher value added agricultural value chains. The proposed systems must include improved irrigation technologies in combination with good agricultural practices and allow poorer smallholder producers to access higher value added markets in a commercially sustainable basis;
  • All business projects must be inclusive in nature: they will need to demonstrate their ability to deliver benefits through improved livelihoods and jobs to poorer smallholder farmers through improved access to and/or more efficient use of irrigation water, rather than solely benefitting the participating companies/organisations of a particular project;
  • All projects will need to confirm the availability of water resources and/or arable land that will be set aside for this specific project as well as provide a clear indication of the commitment of smallholders to participate in the irrigation scheme, technology and/or approach being proposed;
  • Projects should also demonstrate how women and youth will be incorporated into the project either as producers, traders, or as consumers.


  • Download the application form. The form must be completed in English. The form must not exceed 6 pages in length and must be readable.
  • You can print out and send the completed Concept Note to us, by courier to:

Malawi Innovation Challenge Fund
11 Jacaranda Avenue, Mandala Road
P.O. Box 2873 Blantyre, Malawi
REF: Irrigation Window

Alternatively, you can send the completed application, by email attachment, to [email protected]

For more information, visit Malawi Innovation Challenge Fund Irrigation Window Program.