Call for Concept Notes

Cocoa, Maize, Livestock


Are you working in the cocoa, maize, or livestock (cattle, sheep, goats) sectors in a member state of the Organisation of African, Caribbean, and Pacific states? Are you from the private sector, with a high interest in resilience, competitiveness, or direct supply linkages with off-takers for sustainability?

Do you have an innovative idea that makes the above-mentioned value chains less fragmented, more inclusive, particularly for women and youth, sustainable, and profitable? This also includes innovations for by-products of the sectors.

Then this is a unique opportunity for you to realize your goal!

Matching Grant Fund (MGF)

By applying for this MGF, you can obtain funding to realize your project idea in the named value chains!

For all MGF projects, the maximal contribution channeled via ABF will account for up to 50% of the total project budget. This contribution can go up to 200,000€.


The following video explains the most important things about our MGF:

Matching Grant Fund

Competitive “Matching Grant Fund” (MGF) mechanism


1. Readiness Programme & Call for Concept Notes (Pre-qualification)

Online-based introduction and support during the application stage starting with the call for concept notes on 18th September 2023. The call lasts for 9 weeks.


2. Final submission of Call for Concept Notes

The deadline for submission of your concept note is 10th November.


3. Assessment of Concept Notes

Once received, an independent and international expert committee will assess and evaluate all concept notes.


4. Full proposal development & in-depth Readiness Programme

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to develop a full technical proposal and budget. This will be closely supported by the ABF team.


5. Proposal evaluation and decision

The final proposals will be evaluated and a decision on who is granted the funds will be taken.


6. Contracting

Contracts will be prepared by GIZ using tried-and-tested partnership agreement formats.


7. Implementation

Now the implementation of your project can start. This entails reporting to ABF as well as supervision and support from ABF.



Who can apply?


As lead applicants:

  • Processing company
  • Agricultural producer/Farmer's organization
  • National or international retailer companies


As consortium partners:

  • Private sector foundations
  • (Micro) Financial institutions
  • Qualified NGOs
  • Training or research institutions or extension agencies


When & how to apply?

Documents to fill and send back between 18th September 2023 and 10th November 2023, 11:59 pm GMT:

  • Template for concept note (Annex 1)
  • Letter of Intent (Annex 2)
  • Working aid: Contribution Excel sheet (Annex 4 - please use Annex 3 as a guideline on how to fill it)

Please find the application documents above in our download section.

If you have any questions, please read our FAQ below or feel free to send us your unanswered questions.


18 September 2023: Official launch: Matching Grant Fund for Climate-Resilient Value Chains
19 September 2023: Application process & consortia
20 September 2023: Capacity Development
4 October 2023: Contract formats & Finances
18 October 2023: Application process & consortia
30 de Octubre 2023: Webinario ABF MFG Español
2 de novembro de 2023: Sessão de informação em português

Example project for the MGF - Diversification in the cocoa value chain

Example project for the MGF - Diversification in the cocoa value chain


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General questions

What is the ABF MGF about?

The overall objective of the Matching Grant Fund is to leverage contributions from partners for the implementation of specific interventions towards the development of the cocoa, maize, and livestock (cattle, sheep, and goats) value chains and build ownership to drive sustainable growth in the respective sectors, strengthen private sector development, and improve the productivity and profitability of stakeholders in all 79 OACPS member states for cocoa, maize, cattle, sheep, and goats VCs.

Where can I find the presentation from the launch events and the webinars?

You can find the presentations in the download section right above this FAQ section.  

Can the recording from the webinars (presentations) be shared with the participants?

We are sorry that due to data security reasons we cannot share the recordings of the webinars with you.  However, you can access the presentation below under downloads and we included all asked questions (be it in the webinars or via email) below in our FAQ. Of course, our MGF guidelines cover all the information for your application as well.

Where do I find the application documents, such as the concept note template (Annex 1)?

They can be downloaded from the Download section above “Downloads - Application: Documents to fill for your application".

Is it possible to have a one-on-one session during the application process?

This is not possible, but we have many detailed guidelines which you can download from this website. Otherwise, you can always ask a question via mail. However, this question will be posted on our website here in this FAQ section in an anonymized way. Pre-selected concept notes can receive face-to-face support on demand for the development of full proposals.

Is it possible to send clarifications questions during the application procedure?

Yes, it will be to - responses will be posted anonymously to FAQ.

How is the gender component considered in the MGF selection process? And what do you understand under resilience to climate change?

Please have a look at the handout for gender transformative approaches and climate smart agriculture (download section directly above this FAQ). In addition, we want to reach 50% women with the projects.

What is the possibility of being picked for the MGF: How much funding is available in total and for each country, each project?

There will be a total of 65 projects selected and the maximum participation of ABF to each project amounts to 50% of the total with a maximum participation of EUR 200k. Projects with higher budgets are eligible to participate (e.g. a €500k project, ABF can still fund it up to €200k).

Is the MGF also aimed at emerging projects, or only at supporting existing projects?

Both formats are eligible, but must be justified.

Does the Matching Grant Fund (MGF) assist with finding the market for the agricultural produce it would have funded?

To be eligible the applicant should have business experience in the targeted value chain. Nevertheless, there is a market facilitation Unit in ABF dedicated to advisory services on market access if you become ABF partners.

Access to EU markets and exports to the EU can be a challenge. Is it also possible to focus on sub-regional markets?

Access to EU markets may be difficult, and other markets may be more interesting. Exporting to sub-regional markets is encouraged. For those applicants already working with the EU and/or needing support, for example with new legislation such as on deforestation, can get support.

What will be the project duration? How many months has the project for execution?

Up to 24 months.

Is there a distribution key between value chains and between different countries?

There are no distribution keys, but the aim is to enable as many countries as possible to access the fund, and to support all the eligible value chains.

How many annexes we need to fill and submit to ABF?

3 annexes (1, 2 and 4) to be filled and sent to our e-mail ( and additionally the evidence of legal registration.


Country and VC specific questions

Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, and Cameroon are not covered in the cocoa value chain, can these countries still apply for other value chains?

Yes. Ghana, Cameroon and Côte d'Ivoire are eligible for the fund, but not for the cocoa value chain. The cocoa value chain is already covered by the Sustainable Cocoa Initiative in Ghana, Cameroon and Côte d'Ivoire. Projects concerning the maize and livestock value chains may be proposed.

Entities from these countries can however also support farmers in the cocoa value chain in other countries.

Why are only the cocoa, maize, and livestock value chains eligible? Why not e.g. pigs or macadamia?

The value chains have been preselected on an analytical basis by OACPS and EU. Nevertheless, the whole framework programme covers 11 value chains, our project only covers 3 (livestock counting as one). Please note that other value chains are covered via different projects as well while ours focuses on the named value chains cocoa, maize, cattle, sheep, and goats.

Is an application for the Cashew value chain also eligible?

Cashew already had their call in June, but they will have a second call and you will be informed on it.

In the livestock value chain, which part of the value chain is considered – processing, production? Is milk also included?

All segments of the cattle, sheep and goat value chains are considered. Milk is also included here.

Should the concepts focus on one value chain, or can they be combined e.g. maize together with livestock?

A combination of value chains is possible and very welcome.

Are fodder crop innovations, beyond maize, eligible for the MGF?

Yes, but they need to be use for the targeted  livestock (cattle, sheep or goat). Therefore, the livestock will be the key value chain.

If based in Cote d'Ivoire/Ghana/Cameroon, a project focusing on the cocoa value chain is not eligible. Does this mean that it can't be involved with cocoa in any way at all, or would it be possible to work on the by-products of cocoa pods, e.g.?

Cocoa or cocoa by-products are not eligible in these countries as main value chain. But you can apply for another main value chain and then include cocoa or cocoa by-products as part of your proposal for diversification.


Finances related questions

Can the minimum 50% contribution of the applicant also be in kind? And would technology or innovation also be considered as contribution?

Yes, that is possible. The contribution can be in cash, kind, innovation, or equipment.

Can you give us some examples of "in kind" contributions?

It is a non-monetary contribution e.g., you can work for free in the office of your consortium partner, or you get a training from the consortium partner.

Is there a minimum money amount for projects accepted?

No, there is no defined minimum, but projects are evaluated on their ability to produce a significant impact.

Is EUR 200k the maximum amount a partner can receive?

Yes, it is the maximum, but the project can be bigger by having a bigger contribution from the private sector. The amount received is up to 50% of the total project budget.

In which form will GIZ’s contribution be?

We generally work with iDPPs (integrated Development Partnership Projects). There are two different types: 1) Implementation agreements where we finance up to 50% of the total contract value and there is money flow between our organisations. 2) Cooperation agreements in which we also contribute up to 50% of the total contract value but there is no money flow between our organisations but we implement some of the activities ourselves. Financially this makes a difference as 1) we finance up to 50% of every budget line and 2) we would finance different activities. For more information, please refer to the presentation Contract forms and finances.

Would the purchase of livestock come under equipment or other costs?

Livestock can be put under equipment. Please state clearly which equipment.

Will the grant be paid in a single instalment or in instalments? And in which currency?

The grant will be paid in instalments, you will not directly get the full amount.

It will be paid out in local currency.

Is the cost of face-to-face trainings expected to be factored in to grant applications? Is this part of the matching funds to be paid with the funding by the applicant?

Costs must be included in the budget in the concept note / proposal. Depending on the contract format it will either be paid by GIZ or all cost items (including those for trainings) will be split.

Is the maximum subsidy requested to be repaid at the end of the project?

No, the subsidy is to support business links between the players in the value chains indicated. It is not a bank loan and hence does not need to be reimbursed.

Can I enter costs for equipment and capital goods in the budget of my concept note?

Yes, if it is not for the core business of the enterprise but will be used for training or demonstration purposes. Please also read through 4) in Annex 3: Guidelines on costs eligible for reimbursement for more detailed information.

For other costs: Should we add another line in the budget template for the other costs? Or should we gather all in "other costs"?

Yes, please add another line and also specify for what the money is planned to be spent (e.g., audit costs).

Besides the local currency, Euro and US Dollar are also widely used here. Can we budget in euros?

Yes, the Excel file allows you to convert the amounts in EURO by entering them in your currency.

Could we use funds to invite an expert from abroad for knowledge exchange e.g. on beekeeping or pollination?

Funds can generally be used for exchanges with experts and for trainers.
Projects on livestock are restricted to cattle, sheep and goat value chains. If beekeeping is part of a project, it must be related to one of the target value chains, e.g. improving pollination in maize value chain.  

If I provide my own land, will it count as my contribution?

Unfortunately not. It can be taken as security but not as contribution.


Application process related questions

Can the concept note be sent in Spanish or Portuguese?

Yes, the concept note can be developed in Spanish or Portuguese. The Expert Committee will work in English and French, there are two options for Spanish and Portuguese speakers:

  • Have your concept note professionally translated and note it in your budget. This will be reimbursed by GIZ if your concept note/project is selected
  • Or develop the application in Spanish and Portuguese and then use internet translators for a translation to English (with specification that you did so)

  • Or sent the application in Spanish and Portuguese. We will then translate it to English using internet translators

Can an organization submit more than one project?

Yes, if the organization is involved in more than one of the targeted value chains.

Is the fund open to companies that are new to the agriculture sector and have no particular experience in any of the value chains?

The experience in the value chain does not matter, the experience of the company matters. However, the concept note of course has to target at least one of the eligible value chains.

Is it possible for only the lead applicant to show the tax proof?

Yes, because the contract will only be with the lead applicant according to the MOU.

If you have 2 offices, for instance one is based in Kenya and the other in Ethiopia, could we apply for different value chains like maize and livestock for the two countries and ask for different funding?

Yes, you can apply for different value chains either in one of the countries or both countries. Please look at the possibility to build consortium if alone you don’t have capacity.

I saw that the project focus should be on: Climate resilience, strengthening women & youth and increasing income. Would a project focusing on 1-2 of such pillars be eligible? (For instance with a greater social focus rather environmental)

Yes, in the concept note template you will see all the indicators and the more you can fill them the better your chances to be preselected.

Are the budget lines predefined?

Yes, but you can add other cost lines, if they are not listed in our budget template and the costs you want to add are eligible according to our guideline.


Eligible institutions related questions

Is it mandatory to have an experience with GIZ to be eligible?

No, it is not mandatory to have past working experience with GIZ to be eligible.

Can you kindly specify the type of financial institutions that can be part of this funding?

Commercial banks or microfinance institutions could be part of a consortium.

Is a training structure/institution eligible?

Training structures/institutions can join forces with cooperatives or private companies to form a consortium and apply for the fund.

They can also be service providers, e.g. Master Trainers and Trainers tend to fall into the service provider category.

An organization for which the core business is not one of the value chains, but they support farmers from these value chains, can they still apply?

Farmers organization in the target value chains can take the lead for application and be supported by a company in a consortium. The company as consortium partner should contribute in cash and/or kind.  

Is there restrictions for companies in terms of years of existence? What about start-ups and small companies?

There is no restriction, however applicants should be able to provide at least records of 2 years tax payments or if it’s a startup with tax exemption. The latter must be proven.
As a start-up or a very small institution, you can show us a sound financial system, but before that you need to inform us. You can also form a consortium with a bigger company.

Can I individually apply for the MGF?

Yes, it is possible, as a processing unit or off taker with a large linkage with producers or producers’ organization. However, a consortium is encouraged. As an agricultural producer you cannot apply individually, you would need to enter in a consortium or can apply via an Agricultural Producers Organization or cooperative.

Can you apply on behalf of a slaughterhouse for livestock?

It is possible since the livestock is part of the eligible value chains.  

Is a registered cocoa trading company in Europe (Germany) with operations in Africa but not a registered office in any African country eligible to apply for the fund?

In general, this is possible.  
However, please be aware that Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and Cameroon are not eligible for cocoa since there is the Sustainable Cocoa Initiative in place.

Can a Community Based Organization (CBO) apply if it is registered?

If your Community Based Organization (CBO) is a registered Farmers’ organization you can apply in partnership with other public or private organizations to build a consortium. Page 9 and 10 of the MGF Guideline.

Can a private structure offering support services to SMEs apply to the MGF for the benefit of the beneficiaries of its services?

Lead applicants can be: a processing company, an agricultural producers' organization, or a national or international distributor. If you fall into one of these categories, you can apply directly.

But if you are a business development support structure, you can be a consortium partner with one of the lead entities submitting the concept note.

What qualifies an NGO to access this grant?

An NGO can be part of a consortium with one lead applicant (possible lead applicants: processing company, producer organization or off-taker of the VC project).

What is a private sector foundation?

It is an umbrella of many value chain associations at regional or continental level.


Consortia related questions

Is it possible to have consortia with someone from the private sector from neighboring countries?

Yes, this is possible. We also advise to bring on board national enterprises.

Some consortia don't have a homepage. Can they still apply?

Consortium means there is one lead applicant. A website is optional, for the assessing person to see what you are doing. However, email is a must. Also, the legal registration is important; a clear document that you are legally registered in your country. Otherwise, we won’t be able to work with you.

The consortium lead is formal, but can one of the partners in the consortium be informal (e.g. a cocoa cluster of stakeholders along a value chain)?

Yes, this is possible.

Can an organization be member of the consortium in more than one project?

Yes, but it of course depends on the capacity of the organization. The best is to focus.

Is it possible for a consortium to apply for the MGF if it does not include the organizations listed in the lead applicant's proposal?

No, it is not possible. The consortium shall include one of the lead applicant (Processing company, Agricultural producer organization, Farmers organization), Off-takers of the main final product of the value chain and/or its by-products.

Is it possible for the consortium to be made up solely of SMEs?

Yes, the consortium can be made up solely of SMEs if it is an SME organization with a consistent annual turnover of at least twice the amount of the MGF contract requested.

Is there a maximum number of partners in a consortium?

A sensible amount - we usually expect 2-3 partners.

How can I have a government institution like a school be part of the consortia as they cannot financially contribute to the project?

They can contribute with personnel, expertise etc. Moreover, please be aware that the contribution can be in kind not only in cash.

Could a research center from South Africa producing certified maize seed be part of a consortium and what would be the maximum of GIZ funds that can be received?

As South Africa is no longer an OACPS member state, the research center can only be part of the consortium if the beneficiaries of the project are based in an OACPS member state. The amount of GIZ funds is limited to 200,000 €.

If the consortium partner is from another OACPS countries, do we fall under the EUR 125k or EUR 200k case?

You can apply for EUR 200k, in this case.

Can the local GIZ be part of a consortia?

The local GIZ cannot participate as a partner in the consortia. ABF would need to collaborate with projects in the green sector to monitor project implementation.


Human capacity development (face-to-face, blended, online) related questions

How will you establish contact with the master trainers?

Master trainers will play a major role. ABF has a large network of master trainers who will be able to offer their services for training courses within the framework of a project.

What method should be used for large-scale training?

Large-scale implementation is possible for both self-paced online training and face-to-face training.

The e-learning is free of charge and can also be implemented with an offline solution (which comes at low costs). Our FBS and PBS face-to-face trainings are suitable for large-scale implementation, which is more cost-effective.  For face-to-face training, master trainers train trainers who, in turn, train farmers. Materials are relatively inexpensive. For example, for implementation at less than 5,000 farmers, FBS costs around $18-20 per farmer trained. See also our fact sheets in the download section.

You can also consider a blended learning approach.

When will the e-learning courses in Portuguese be available?

We will start the translations soon, so we expect the first course to become available by December 2023. Portuguese courses could definitely form part of a concept note already.

Our company has already set up a training center and equipped it with computers. Can we run digital training courses there, and are the courses accessible to all?

On the atingi training platform, our Agribusiness e-Academy training materials are accessible to all and can be consulted freely if an internet connection is established. Use of the online offer is not restricted to participants in the MGF call for concept notes. For offline use in the field, an atingi-box can also be used.

Do I understand correctly that you can incorporate the atingi trainings in your concept notes?

For offline use in the field, you can also integrate the “atingi-box” into your concept note.

Can you also apply for a specific technical training e.g. for improving a cocoa product?

Yes. Technical and entrepreneurship trainings (face-to-face and online) will be provided during the proposal implementation if you are finally selected to receive the MGF and have incorporated it before in your concept note. Costs must be included in the budget of your concept note. Master Trainers will support you in the training implementation as service providers.

It is highly encouraged to combine technical and business trainings as this is more effective in terms of value chain development.

Is it possible to customize training approaches (face-to-face and online) and adapt them to the specific context?

It depends on the training approach. GmBS+ is rather generic with no specific adaptations, while curricula of FBS, PBS and CBS are adapted to the context. The ABF-team will support you on the customization of materials.
E-learning courses can be taken up by partners – they can be altered as long as the basic info remains the same and as long as they are not promoted / offered as paid product.

For the online trainings: ⁃ how high-tech of a device is required to use it? ⁃ Is literacy required for the course? Is it accessible without reading, via audio?

A standard smartphone, tablet or desktop computer is needed. And a certain digital literacy level is definitely needed. Our 3D animated courses are more visually based but those require reading skills as well, e.g., for the quiz elements.

If an applicant already has training content proven to achieve similar impacts, can the applicant continue working with those approaches within the MGF project or is it mandatory to implement the ABF-trainings?

Applicants can also include their technical and entrepreneurial human capacity development trainings in the concept notes.


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The Joint Action is jointly co-financed by the European Union under the Samoa agreement with OACPS and by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by GIZ.

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