Circular Economy

Food Connection Challenge Nigeria

Nigeria 2018/2019 Nigerian Naira
Photo by The Netherlands Embassy © at Lagos, Nigeria
Circular Economy

Incubating business solutions to reduce Post Harvest Losses in Nigeria

Two editions of the Food Connection Challenge (FCC) took place in 2018, one in Benin and one in Nigeria. These two FCCs provided local (agri) entrepreneurs the opportunity to develop innovative solutions to Post Harvest Losses (PHL). The challenge took the shape of a funnelled incubation process, consisting of training and coaching, with this process being organized, supported and encouraged by Crosswise Works (Nigeria) and BoP Innovation (Benin). During the incubation, solutions to decrease PHL were developed from an early idea to a business case ready to be implemented. The winners of the FCCs have implemented their solutions in 2019.

The Numbers

Stats & Progress

Incubation and implementation of business solutions to reduce Post Harvest Losses:


PHL Business Ideas


Nigerian SMEs Supported


Winning Plans Implemented


The Main Activities

Why The Food Connection Challenge?

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), between one quarter and one third of all food produced worldwide is never consumed (FAO, 2011). Food losses and waste occur at every stage of the value chain including during production, harvest, storage and transport, processing and retail. In Nigeria, in some food chains, up to half the food is lost after harvest. The Food Connection Challenge aims to improve operations of local companies and reduce Post Harvest Losses at company level.

The Approach

The FCC consisted of different steps/elements.: mobilizing & selecting SMEs, 3-day Business Training, ‘Clash of Ideas’ and a pitch event to determine the winners. The core of FCC is that it was an incubation program with a funneled approach, meaning that learning and developing were at the heart of the intervention and that the challenge started with a lot of potential candidates and ended with (two) winners after several ‘knock out moments’.

Inspiration Days

Through setting up monthly inspirational talks, panel discussions, and bringing together different ecosystem players and conveners we hope to inspire many different stakeholders, youth and young entrepreneurs to (re)think the opportunities available to them concerning the creation of a circular economy. The inspiration days have been dubbed 'Mombasa Talks' and each quarter we will take a different thematic subject such as 'financial inclusion for start-ups' or 'circular business models' and build off of those ideas with panels and experts discussing the topic matter both offline and online.

The Winners

At a public event hosted by the Netherlands Embassy Office in Lagos, two companies emerged as winners of the Food Connection Challenge Nigeria:

1. Soupah Kitchen: buys end-of-market tomatoes – that would otherwise rot at the market – to process (solar dry) tomatoes into powder for stew. The powder retains nutritional value and can be bought at supermarkets. The solution is aimed at scaling up: change of packaging will be implemented and 8 extra solar dryers will be put at markets.

2. Smileyz’ Mobile Kitchen: produces tomato paste made by pasteurization, when tomatoes are in abundance. Smiley’Z buys directly from farmers and sells paste at low price year-round to base of the pyramid customers. The solution is aimed at setting up pasteurizing and storage facilities.

FCC Circle

Joining forces to reduce Post Harvest Losses

With the support of the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and in cooperation with BoP Innovation, the Food Connection Challenge took place in both Nigeria and Benin. To make sure that the incubated innovations could be implemented the Post Harvest Network provided financial support to the winners in Nigeria and Benin. The FCC was supported by local and Dutch (knowledge) partners that provided their expertise for the selection process and coaching.

Bas crosswise1092
Responsible Impact Manager


For more information on the incubation training, the competition and the winning innovations to reduce post-harvest losses in Nigeria, please contact Bas

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