About this Round

Karandaaz Pakistan is thrilled to announce its inaugural Challenge Round, Digital Financing for Agriculture 2023. This groundbreaking initiative features a challenge grant designed to catalyze the development, testing, and support of innovative solutions aimed at revolutionizing access to finance for farmers.

Applications Closed

Terms of Reference for the DFA Challenge Round 2023 can still be viewed and incase of any queries, email us at dfa@karandaaz.com.pk

Thematic Areas

Karandaaz seeks proposals to address the financing challenges of the small holder farmer of Pakistan. Potential areas of innovation include:

Disruptive Technology Enablement

The focus lies in transforming traditional lending paradigms into streamlined digital lending models. This involves harnessing technology to enhance the ease and efficiency of the lending process, establishing digital pathways for lending operations, and fostering the creation of platforms that facilitate lending activities within Pakistan. Furthermore, there is a pivotal emphasis on aggregating lending products tailor-made for the unique needs of smallholder farmers, thereby bridging the gap between technology and financial accessibility in the agricultural sector.

Credit Scoring Models

A significant portion of small holder farmers/MSMEs struggle to  access formal credit due to the absence of conventional credit histories and reliable credit scoring mechanisms. This lack of credit access hampers their growth and ability to invest in business expansion. How might we develop advanced credit scoring models that leverage alternative data sources to assess the creditworthiness of small-holder farmers accurately, fostering increased access to financing for business development and growth?

Pilots for Financing Models

The traditional financing landscape in Pakistan’s agriculture sector primarily consists of conventional lending models, which may not effectively cater to the unique needs of smallholder farmers and agribusinesses. This limitation inhibits the sector’s growth potential and impedes farmers’ ability to invest in modern practices. How might we pilot innovative financing models that specifically address the financing needs of the agriculture value chain, such as supply chain and input based financing and, to unlock growth opportunities and facilitate smoother financial transactions within the sector?

Target Segment

Pakistani smallholder farmers face significant financial marginalization and disconnection from the mainstream economy, as they are considered high credit risks due to unavailability of their credit scores scores and loan histories. Despite agriculture’s importance to the economy, only a minimal portion of private sector credit is allocated to this sector. This lack of financial support prevents farmers from accessing loans and credit for essential farming inputs, leading to heavy reliance on informal intermediaries with limited oversight. The Digital Financing for Agriculture Challenge aims to address this issue by focusing on smallholder farmers, seeking solutions to provide formal credit, reduce high interest rates, eliminate collateral challenges, and simplify procedures, thus reducing dependency on exploitative non-institutional sources.

Terms of Reference for the DFA Challenge Round 2023 can still be viewed and incase of any queries, email us at dfa@karandaaz.com.pk

Key dates

9th Sept 2023
Applications open
27th Sept 2023
Proposal Development Workshop
10th Oct 2023
Applications close
12th Oct 2023
Deadline Extended for Closing of Applications

Proposal Development Workshop


Karandaaz Pakistan seeks to help applicants develop, refine and scale ways to transform agriculture financing. Applicants’ proposed solutions are expected to lead to

  • Increased uptake of financial services or products of previously un-banked and/or undeserved smallholder farmers
  • Improvement in financial capabilities of smallholder farmers.
  • Enabling environment for the growth of agritech and agrifinance.
  • Helping smallholder farmers overcome the hurdles faced by the prevalent systematic discrimination in the financial marketplace.
  • Promoting a safer and more inclusive environment for smallholder farmers.

Potential applicants may encompass financial institutions such as traditional banks, microfinance institutions, and other established financial entities; agritech companies or start-ups; fintechs; non-banking or non-traditional financial institutions or service providers such as leasing companies, insurance providers; or any consortium of agritech players, banks, input suppliers.

You must have a blend of digital and non-digital solution in order to qualify for the grant.

The proposal template can be accessed here. After your proposal is complete you can email it at dfa@karandaaz.com.pk with the subject line “Proposal Submission – DFA Challenge Round 2023” before the deadline, i.e., 12th October, 2023 (deadline extended by two days from the 10th to 12th of October).

The shortlisting criteria are based on Innovativeness, Inclusivity, Sustainability, Scale Potential, Impact and Team Capability of the founding/executive team. You may read about it in the term sheet.

Up to two winners will be selected in this round.

Up to PKR 25 Million grant would be given to the selected winners subjected to idea stage, product roadmap, and growth milestones.

Being in an idea phase is fine as long as you have a well-researched business model along with a strong team where co-founders complement each other’s strengths. They are both pre-requisites in order to qualify.

No, individuals or sole-proprietor businesses/start-ups are not eligible for the challenge round, you need to have a team in place.

Please email in your queries at dfa@karandaaz.com.pk with the subject title “Query on DFA Challenge Round 2023”

For any questions, write to us at dfa@karandaaz.com.pk

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