In mid-2020, GAIN developed the Keeping Food Markets Working (KFMW) programme as an emergency response to the COVID-19 crisis, providing rapid support to food system workers, to small and medium enterprises supplying nutritious foods and to keeping fresh food markets open. The SME-focused component provided emergency business guidance and financial support to SMEs across seven countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, aiming to address immediate needs while building longer-term resilience.
Through this work, emergency financial support in the form of operating capital to help firms retain staff and improve safety at the workplace has helped buttress the liquidity of SMEs. These grants have covered costs such as salaries, inputs, sales, and transportation. Over 100 SMEs across Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Rwanda have so far received emergency cash to support their operating expenses.
In Rwanda, GAIN, with the support of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, partnered with HortInvest Project to support SMEs in horticulture sector to withstand the effects of COVID19. 13 SMEs (46% women owned/led, 23% youth owned/led) received grants and technical assistance (financial and business management) and agronomic support.
Here is how KFMW support helped these SMEs continue to provide safe, nutritious food; and keep their businesses running, amidst the pandemic.