Apply to the Food System Challenge and get support to scale your impactful business solution

The Food System Challenge supports businesses and cooperatives to solve core challenges in the agricultural and agri-food sector in Lebanon.

Applications are now closed.

In Brief

With Lebanon facing one of its toughest crises, the Food System Challenge aims to support Lebanese SMEs and cooperatives working across the agriculture and agri-food sectors to address core food system challenges with maximum impact.

The Food System Challenge is implemented by the World Food Programme (WFP) and Berytech through support from the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

If your business or cooperative has an innovative and impactful solution to address these challenges:

  • Access to Energy
  • Access to Raw Material
  • Import Substitution
  • Other challenges affecting Lebanon’s food system

The Food System Challenge Offers

Your business or cooperative will benefit from a tailored package of business development services, technical assistance, and financial support to achieve long term growth.

period of the program

6 Months

Your business will undergo a transformational journey of 6 months or more, with clear milestones and objectives set from the start.


12 SMEs & Cooperatives

For this round of applications, up to 12 SMEs and Cooperatives will be selected to benefit from a tailored package of support.

business support

Up to $100k

Your business will receive a package of business services, technical assistance, cash and in-kind grants, with a total value of up to 100,000$.

Applications are now closed.

The total value and composition of the transformational journey package is determined as based on the solutions you propose to address the below challenges.

The Challenges

The Food System Challenge is looking for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and Cooperatives with solutions for the core challenges affecting the food system. To ensure optimal impact, business-to-business solutions are strongly encouraged.

The agriculture and agri-food sector continue to be in crisis mode due to the dependence on increasingly costly fuel-based energy and transportation. This affects all food system processes across food production, transformation, and transportation.

We are looking for SMEs and Cooperatives that can address this challenge through initiatives to improve the access of agribusiness SMEs and farmers to sustainable energy sources or through more efficient and sustainable use of energy sources. For example integrated solutions, biodiesel, by-product energy generation, solar-powered water-saving irrigation, etc.

Applicants solely requesting the installation of Solar PV solutions or similar with no demonstration of impact beyond the business itself will not be considered.

Agri-food businesses are struggling to source raw materials, especially if imported, due to the devaluation of the Lebanese Lira. 

We are looking for SMEs and Cooperatives that can address this challenge through initiatives helping to improve the access to and affordability of raw materials. For example, solutions could ensure the sourcing of raw materials through vertical integration, contractual farming, waste/by-products valorization, and lower grade products valorization, recycling, circularity, etc. Businesses with solutions that benefit a wide range of sector actors, such as small-scale farmers or other sector businesses are encouraged to apply.

Lebanon imports 85% of its food consumption. Along with the devaluation of the Lebanese Lira and the economic crisis, this is a challenge to food production, consumption, and ultimately food security.

We are looking for SMEs and Cooperatives that can address this challenge through initiatives substituting with local solutions the food products, raw material, and input supplies for the agri-food sector that are usually imported.  

We are also interested in supporting businesses and cooperatives whose solutions address other challenges affecting Lebanon’s food system besides access to energy, access to raw materials and import substitution. If you think your SME or cooperative is addressing an important challenge affecting Lebanon’s agri-food sector, please submit your proposal highlighting the challenge you are addressing and why your solution is better than the ones provided by other SMEs or cooperatives.

Who Can Apply

  • Legally registered businesses and agri-food or agriculture cooperatives.
  • Already established SMEs with minimum 10 employees and maximum 100 employees
  • Businesses/cooperatives working in agricultural production, food transformation, food marketing and consumption.
  • Businesses/cooperatives with a solid business solution addressing one or more of the food system challenges.
  • This includes but is not limited to: Input suppliers, Registered farmer organizations, Collection centers, Transporters, Storage centers, Processors, Distributors, Wholesalers, Exporters & Importers, Retailers and Agri-food cooperatives.

    Selection Criteria

    Winning proposals will be selected based on an assessment of the following criteria:

    • Scalability: The solution is addressing a problem that is affecting many people and there is potential to expand the solution and services to benefit a more people, farmers, or agri-food businesses.
    • Added value: The proposed solution is different from and better than solutions offered by other players, and it can add clear value to not only your own business but the sector more broadly.
    • Impact: The proposed solution has measurable impact on small producers and farming partners, as well as meaningful direct impact on vulnerable populations, in terms of income, work sustainability and food security.
    • Innovation: Your solution has elements of introducing new technology, a new approach, or a new process that can improve processes and products.
    • Feasibility: The solution can realistically be implemented within the scope and timeframe of the food system challenge, and there is an indication of demand for the solution in the market.
    • Your solution must be cost effective with an expected high return on investment and a plan for how to ensure sustainable revenue beyond the support from the Food System Challenge.

    Additional points will be given to:

    • Proposals of women-led businesses or cooperatives, that can empower women to become part of the food system, or has potential for increased employment of women and youth.
    • Proposals that are environmentally sustainable and reduces the negative impact on natural resources or the natural environment.
    • Proposals from companies or cooperatives with owners, founders, or employees with disabilities.

    The Program's Outcomes

    food security icon

    food security

    A well-functioning local food system in Lebanon with efficient and resilient producers, cooperatives and SMEs that can serve local food and nutrition needs.


    A food system that can ensure economic inclusion of small-scale actors such as small-holder farmers into core processes.

    women employment

    Employment Opportunities

    A food system that offers employment opportunities and increases income especially for vulnerable populations such as at-risk women, people with disabilities, youth, and elderly people.

    The Food System Challenge is funded by BMZ through the United Nations World Food Programme


    The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (German: Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung), abbreviated BMZ, is a cabinet-level ministry of the Federal Republic of Germany. Founded in 1961, the Ministry works to encourage economic development within Germany and other countries through international cooperation and partnerships. 

    UN World Food Programme: The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, and the world’s largest humanitarian organization. WFP is saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters, and the impact of climate change. 

    Implementing Partners


    Yes, however you need to prove how your solution will have a positive impact on the food system in Lebanon and how the program will help you scale your business and not only maintain your operations.

    Alcoholic Beverages & Tobacco Productions, NGOs, NPOs and non-Lebanese companies or cooperatives are not part of the Food System Challenge beneficiaries, unless they have a commercial register in Lebanon that allows them to sell products.

    Ideally yes, however they can prove that they have 10 employees that are officially employed on a full-time basis.


    Yes, taking into consideration that the Food System Challenge provides technical, financial and business support to help your solution have a positive impact on food production and the local food consumption in addition to creating jobs.

    Meet the Team

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