South Asia Request for Applications!

South Asia Regional Request for Applications

Please refer to attached PDF of the Request for Applications at the bottom of this page for details on submission

Title: Horticulture Production Efficiency Enhancement in South Asia (HoPE)


The Feed the Future Horticulture Innovation Lab program advances bio-physical and social knowledge and innovation within the horticulture sector, specifically in Africa, South Asia, and Central America.  Our global research network works with and promotes local leadership to advance horticulture and social innovations, empowering smallholder farmers to earn more income while better nourishing their communities. 

The Horticulture Innovation Lab is currently soliciting full technical applications from local organizations in Nepal and Bangladesh to conduct research designed to increase fruit and vegetable production efficiency in the horticulture sector of Nepal and/or Bangladesh through research and development.The selected research projects will be funded at $250,000 up to $750,000 depending on the scope of work, over a period of up to 3 ½ years. A total of approximately $1.2 million will be awarded, through which we aim to fund 2-4 projects. We encourage applications for a single subtheme, and collaborative projects that cover multiple sub-themes. 

The Horticulture Innovation Lab is looking for research applications led by local organizations that are relevant to, and appropriate for smallholder farmers and disadvantaged populations in focus countries. The research should result in useful recommendations and key takeaways for future Horticulture Innovation Lab research and development. Successful teams will include multiple disciplines, including agribusiness and nutrition experts, as well as horticulturists, agronomists, sociologists and economists.

Eligibility Criteria

The lead applicant and principal investigator must be from these USAID Feed the Future countries from within the region - Nepal and Bangladesh. Applicants can be from academic institutions, government sectors (including national agriculture research services), private entities, or other community based organizations. While international collaboration is allowable, intellectual lead and management should remain in the region. This includes but is not limited to leading efforts in determining research methodology, implementation, and information dissemination, such as publications and conference participation. Priority will be given to research projects with budgets that include a majority of funds to regionally based partners.

Some key information

  1. For questions about budgets or contracts, please contact Katie Schroeder  at or +1-530-752-3522. For programmatic questions or questions about the RFA email Krishna Sapkota, South Asia Regional Hub Manager, at
  2. Questions and answers relevant to all possible applicants will be posted on the South Asia Questions and Responses Page. Deadline for questions is December 20, 2022 and questions and answers will be posted on a rolling basis.
  3. Two webinars will be provided to present information on the RFA and answer any questions about the RFA:
    1. First Webinar is December 9th at 11:15am Nepal Time and 11:30am BST. Link for Webinar: South Asia Webinar One Link
    2. Second Webinar is scheduled for 15th December 11am - 12pm Nepal Time and 11:15am - 12:15am BST. Link for webinar: South Asia Webinar Two Link Meeting ID: 918 4673 8621
  4. RFA Timeline:

    1.   Request for applications: December 5, 2022

    2.  Deadline for application questions: December 20, 2022

    3. Applications due January 10, 2023 5:00pm PST to the Horticulture Innovation Lab via PiestarRx (RFA Piestar Submission Link). If you are not able to access Piestar, then 1) technical application can be submitted as a PDF document, 2)  budget justification, documentation of cost-share, and Supporting Budget Letters combined as a separate PDF document, and 3) an excel document for the budget with annual and cumulative totals for the prescribed categories. These documents should be emailed to

    4. Lead Principal Investigators (PI) are required to complete short LASER PULSE video  training sessions on research for and with disadvantaged groups, and locally-led research.

    5.  Review of applications:  January 12 – January 22, 2023

    6. Notification of funding:  February 6, 2023

    7. Projects begin:  March 15, 2023

  5. NOTE: Due to the holidays and time constraints for submission of applications to the RFAs for South Asia, West Africa, and East Africa, letters of support in the application package can be unofficial letters of support at the time of submission. Applications are due January 10, 2023 5:00pm PST.

    Official letters of support, signed by authorized staff at an organization, will need to be submitted prior to the close of the application review period, January 22, 2023.

    Official letters of support sent after the close date for applications can be emailed to the Innovation Lab for Horticulture – Please include in the email the name of the Lead Principal Investigator to assist in the proper categorization of the letter of support.

  6. Cost share waiver information: If you are requesting a waiver of the cost share requirement, please include an explanation or justification for the waiver in your application in a separate letter or within the budget justification document. Requesting and potentially receiving a waiver of the cost share requirement will not be considered during the review process of applications in determining awarding funds.
    If a waiver has been requested and the application chosen for funding, a discussion will take place to determine the terms of the waiver

Helpful Links for drafting RFA Submissions