SDC project wins prize for innovative approach

Bern, Press release, 08.10.2014

The “mini seed packs” initiative, which is supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), was awarded a prize by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) in Paris yesterday evening. The initiative distributes seeds in small packets, making them affordable to small farmers in Bangladesh. The DAC, the central forum for development policy discussions between OECD member countries, honoured the initiative for its ability to reach large numbers of people, with over 400,000 seed packets sold in the first year alone.

This is the first time the DAC Prize for Taking Development Innovation to Scale has been awarded, a prize for development projects whose innovative solutions are taken beyond the pilot phase to a wider application, thereby benefiting large numbers of people.

The winner of the prize was the “mini seed packs” initiative of the Katalyst project co-funded by the SDC. The project brings together small farmers in Bangladesh with public and private actors to facilitate farmers' access to the market. In order to boost their productivity, vegetable producers need high-quality seeds. Bangladesh's 19 million small-scale farmers have little access to such seeds, due to their high cost, and therefore suffer from lower yields. With support from Katalyst, two companies have begun to sell seeds in small packets. Over 400,000 packs were sold in the first year alone. The mini packs are now so popular that other seed companies have started to produce them.

Katalyst is funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the UK Department for International Development and the Danish International Development Agency. The project is implemented by the Swiss NGO Swisscontact and the German Federal Enterprise for International Cooperation (GIZ).

Also among the ten finalists for the DAC prize was the Employment Fund Programme, which finances short-term vocational training for disadvantaged young people in Nepal. Over 450,000 young people enter the labour market every year, the vast majority of them with no qualifications. As well as vocational training, the Employment Fund's partners also provide employment services and start-up assistance. The Employment Fund is financed by the SDC, the UK Department for International Development and the World Bank.

Further information:

Project Katalyst Bangladesh
Employment Fund Programme Nepal

Address for enquiries:

Information FDFA
Bundeshaus West
CH-3003 Bern
Tel.: +41 58 462 31 53
Fax: +41 58 464 90 47


Federal Department of Foreign Affairs