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September 26, 2008Global DM2008: World Bank and Partners Award $4 Million to Innovative Agricultural Projects
September 26, 2008Global DM2008: Videos of the marketplace event
 May 15, 2008South Asia:  Tackling HIV-Aids Stigma and Discrimination
 May 8, 2008Africa: Lighting Africa





WASHINGTON, September  26, 2008—More than $4 million was awarded in seed money to 22 innovative agricultural projects today at the end of the 2008 Development Marketplace, a competitive grant program organized by the World Bank to fund innovation in development.


The 2008 global competition was co-sponsored by the World Bank, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and GTZ.


Winners represent 16 countries. Most are from Latin America and the Caribbean (8), followed by East Asia and Pacific (6), sub-Saharan Africa (5) and South Asia (3). Cambodia, Ecuador, Mexico, India, Vietnam and Brazil have all two winning projects per country.


Among the winning ideas are milk coolers that adapt beer-cooling technology for use by Ugandan farmers; rice fields that serve as fertilizer for cost-effective and environmentally sustainable farming in Ecuador; leasing mechanisms for unused dry riverbeds that permit migrants and displaced persons to cultivate fresh produce in Nepal. Winning entries received up to $200,000.


“The World Bank is delighted to sponsor the Development Marketplace as a launching pad for new ideas in development. With the global community focused on the food price crisis, it is an opportunity to showcase the kind of creative thinking that can deliver tangible benefits to producers struggling with poverty in rural areas," said Katherine Sierra, Vice President of  Sustainable Development at the World Bank. 


Cocoa received a good deal of attention and innovation with two awarded projects. In Trinidad and Tobago, a technology based on DNA finger printing will be used for the first time to allow farmers distinguishing rare cocoa cultivars from ordinary beans and capturing pricing premiums in the market. In Ecuador, cocoa growers will develop tasting know-how to detect organoleptic qualities and create promising new varieties.


In Senegal, farmers and fishermen from 40 communities will generate their own biofuel through a method of power transmission using unrefined seed oil straight from the cold press, thus reducing their cost to deliver products to market.


“Innovation, risk-taking, and determination have always been essential for progress. The International Finance Corporation is proud to support this competition as a way to nurture and foster bold ideas to create new opportunities for small farmers and rural population,” said Farida Khambata, IFC’s Vice President, Asia, Latin America and Global Manufacturing, during the awards ceremony.


With the grants as seed money, winning projects often go on to scale up or replicate elsewhere, winning prestigious awards within the sphere of social entrepreneurship.


Pump Aid, a 2006 winner of a $120,000 grant, secured an additional $25 million to expand water and sanitation services to reach 8 million people in Zimbabwe and Malawi over the next five years.


E-commerce For Farmers, a start-up company in the Philippines, won a Development Marketplace grant to train 24 farmer cooperatives in the use of online bulletins and text messaging to broaden market reach. Six years later,, Inc boasts equity investors and a profit. In 2007, it reached over $2 million in online transactions.  


“The Development Marketplace is a consolidated program through which the World Bank can interact with civil society and governments experimenting with new approaches in development. We like to think of it as our venture capital initiative taking risks and planting the seeds for a garden of new and better ways to alleviate poverty," said Fayezul Choudhry, Vice President and Controller at the World Bank.    


The Development Marketplace is a competitive grant program that identifies and funds innovative, early-stage development projects with high potential for impact and replication. This year’s competition on sustainable agriculture drew almost 1,800 applications. Through a rigorous assessment conducted by 200 specialists from within and outside the World Bank, the applicants were narrowed to 100 finalists who were invited to Washington, D.C. to present their ideas at World Bank headquarters, September 24-26.  Since 1998, the Development Marketplace has awarded more than $46 million to initiatives identified through global and regional competitions.


For more information, including the list of finalists, please visit

the DM2008 website

Karolina Ordon 
(202) 458 5971 


Elena Altieri  
(202) 473 3913  




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