The Department for International Development (DFID) has announced that the Food Retail Industry Challenge Fund (FRICH) is now accepting bids from the UK and European private food sector for innovative projects that could deliver an increase in Africa to Europe food trade. Grants requested from FRICH must be between £150,000 and £1 million, with applicants contributing a minimum of 50% of the total project cost. Initial bids must be submitted by 20th February 2012.

FRICH has been awarding grants since 2008 for a diverse range of innovative projects including those involving tea, coffee, cocoa, spices and dried fruit, as well as fresh produce and fish, in African countries that are north of South Africa and south of the Sahara.

FRICH Project Director Mark Thomas explains the benefits of FRICH to all parties: “The main objective of FRICH (which is a competitive Challenge Fund*) is to improve market access for African food by working with food businesses to develop successful new approaches that can be scaled up. The funding therefore offers excellent opportunities for European food companies to test new business models with a shared risk, whilst benefiting some of the poorest regions of Africa in a very real and tangible way.”

“Whilst the bids are competitive we provide plenty of guidance and support for applicants and the initial bids are submitted in the form of Project Concept Notes, which should only be a maximum of five to six pages.”

Those interested in applying for the scheme can visit www.frich.co.uk

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