lundi 7 avril 2014

What strategies for boosting agribusiness in Africa: Do you have others ideas?

Photo source: IFDC

Agricultural transformation in Africa needs a lot of change and new strategies. every actors within the value chain has a great role to play. in order to better perceive what people think about agribusiness in Africa, I launched a discussion on my linkedin network under the group African Agribusiness. Various ideas comes out which can conribute to build a good strategy for boosting agribusiness in Africa. some relevant contribution are listed below. You can also add your thoughts and ideas:


"When i listen to words like boosting agricbusiness in Africa, i begin to wonder why learned africans should say so. This is because we have not yet realised that we are pooled by words which we live in, but failed to transform them into realities. Agric business is it different from producing at a larger scale for both subsistence and profit making..." ( JohnTsewele). 

"Through intensive extension services to farmers, offering affordable credit services, subdising farm inputs and educating farmers on post harvest management and marketing, also reducing the intermediaries on the agricultural product value chain" (CharlesMutugi) 

"The first problem will be to clearly define agricultural land and property titles. Then, farmers will have to choose between subsistence farming (food crop) or agribusiness. Creating cooperative would help develop both targets because the size of most of the farmers' lands are barely big enough to feed them all. African youth would be interested in agriculture if only they can make profit and live from their land. Governments could invest in dedicated training centers where farmers could improve their skills. Thus, the more efficient they would be the more likely they would increase productivity and profits. This will simply means more jobs, more development..."( Patrick-Jean Pichavant)

"To boost agribusiness in Africa, secondary stakeholders in the sector should stop using a rural development and poverty enhancement approach in implementing their programs/projects, they should use an agri-business approach as it will enable the primary stakeholders in the sector to establish and manage small scale agri-enterprise. Moreover, farmers should be organize in an active network and be encouraged by enabling them have access to agricultural incentives" ( Chukwudi Anyanaso)

"I think it is not only the government that has a role in boosting agri-business.This is because this has not yeilded much over the years...how about what individual can do to give agri-business a new face in Africa? Especially if the facilities and infrastructures are there without much interest in agriculture"(Oluwabusayo Sotunde) 
 
"One reason explaining how people especially youth are not interested in agriculture is the fact that there is no legal statute of farmer inmost African countries. Farmers are still considered as "peasant" instead "entrpreneur". If more intrests are given to agriculture susch away that agriculture can beind an organized profession like others, young people can give more intrest to this sector and consequently, boost agribusiness. I agree with you concerning organization and networking. That is why most African countries are now encourage farmers to organize themselves as cooperatives. according to the fact that cooperative is an entreprise, farmer who are member of one cooperative will be considered as entrepreneur with social capital within the cooperative. if farmers are members of cooperative or regional advocacy organization's, agribusiness can be a catalyser for agricultural transformation in Africa" (  Nestor NGOUAMBE)  


"African youths must be involved considering the age of average farmers in Africa is between 60-70 years and in this note our goverment should must Agriculture attractive to the youth by provding all the resource needed" ( atu obinna andrew )
 
"Zimbabwe pre the year 2000 had the best agribusiness farming model in Africa. It was a success story that not only enable Zimbabawe to be self sufficient in feeding itself but also had abundant surplus to export to neighbouring countries that could not produce enough for themselves . It had developed its owns food processing factories, fertilizer and seed houses which created jobs and value added to the produce. The farms were on average around 1500 ha and the climate allowed for a multitude of crops to be grown, ranging from grains to tree crops to tobacco vegetables and livestock . The agribusiness sector of the ecomony was the largest employer of people and was the base of the countries ecomony. Unfortunately a dictorial and selfish Governance destroyed the model which has had a negative impact on the well being of the country and region as a whole. If Cameroon could ientify land and make available areas large enough to ensure a viable farming business based on the old Zimbabwe model, it will go along way in improving the agribusiness sector of the country, create the oppurtunity for value adding processing plants and create an avenue for employment" (Daniel Conradie)
"In Ethiopia we have Ethiopian Commodity Exchange which is established some years ago and it actually helps the farming communities indeed. And of course I think there is a need to establish Africa agri-business network under the umbrella of AU to facilitate Agribusiness in Africa" (Maru Degefa)
.

"The right way to improve agriculture in Africa is to identify areas suitable for growing certain commodities. Processing hub for those commodities should then be planned and established in the area. Out grower contracts must then be entered into with the surrounding farmers (big and small). Using these agreements the farmers have the security of knowing what to plant and how much they will earn from their yields. It also creates an opportunity for entrepreneurs to establish companies to do all the mechanical soil preparation, planting, weeding and harvesting for the farmers. This will save the farmers large amounts of money as they would not have to buy this expensive equipment. To be successful these two have to go hand in hand.
As Africans we need to start continental trading. One half of the continent is in the Northern Hemisphere and the other in the Southern Hemisphere which means we have the opportunity to supply each other with out of season crops. Currently we are trading much more with other continents and very little with each other on the same continent. Why is that?"(Pieter Joubert).

   
"Education and mechanised farming on a huge commercial scale is one of the main solutions. In addition governments need to assist farmers in obtaining cheap loans from banks , give subsidies to farmers as it is done on the West etc. I agree with you to a certain extent. However, what I really mean is for the government to assist the small farmers who are often poor and uneducated obtain loans from banks and provide them with subsidies as it is done in the west from where we spend millions of dollars to import food, food we can grow ourselves. Farmers in the West are able to farm on a large scale because of the support they get from their governments, such support is lacking in African. However thanks to Mr. Adesina, the Minister of Agriculture in Nigeria who is trying to address the problem. African farmers and farmers in the west are not on level playing fields. African farmers need more support from their governments. Most of them are poor and cannot afford to farm on a large scale." ( Ade Odele)
  

"I can agree to start up grants for farmers if the government can afford it.

Debt is destroying farming across the globe
India has shown that loans and debt can be a terrible burden on smallholders. Here is some links you should read

India
http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/sainath/farmers-suicide-rates-soar-above-the-rest/article4725101.ece

France
http://www.thelocal.fr/20131010/french-farmers-hit-by-500-suicides-in-three-years

USA
Farmer debt
http://www.cnbc.com/id/100739419
Farmer suicide rate
http://www.minyanville.com/business-news/editors-pick/articles/For-Farmers-Rise-in-Suicide-Rate/5/8/2013/id/49640

 
I can not support farming systems that will be detrimental to the people and the environment in Africa. Africa has the opportunity to be the world supplier of organically grown crops unless we follow the example of other continents and destroy our resources. The demand for organically grown crops is growing every day. The FAO has declared 2014 as the year of family farming not the year of commercial farming.
http://www.fao.org/family-farming-2014/en/."  (Pieter Joubert)

"To boost agriculture productivity in Africa, African governments and the people must accept the following :
1) Agriculture must be seen as an economic development sector and graduate it from being seen as a battle ground for poverty alleviation. Poverty alleviation approaches must be done under social welfare or safety net programs.
2) invest in rural re-settlement to release land for precision agriculture and reorganize land for high productivity.
3) organise marketing systems for the agriculture commodities including warehousing, transportation and shipping systems comparable to oil industry.
4) organise the people.
5) Provide banking facilities to afford technologies for high productivity.
Agriculture remains a steady economic platform for industrialization in Africa." (
Felix Elia Jumbe)


"We (Government and Private Sector) must also get our farmers and those involved in food processing to understand basic book keeping methods. If for nothing at all, how to record income on one side and Expenditure on the other side of a column in a note book not forgetting the dates. They must also be exposed to packaging methods to make their final products look attractive thereby adding value to their farm produce".Gabriel Boateng-Appiah)

"Many comments have spoken to the importance of enlightening farmers, but farmers are brighter than we think. Meeting the challenge in stimulating agribusiness in Africa will stem from scale. Scale comes from an organized farming community who understands where its best interests can be met. Often government is called in to vouch for farmers--an approach whose results leave much to be desired. The market for agriculture exists, but many competitors for producing staples such as rice, chicken and other staples, African farmers will need to produce efficiently or they will be sidelined and earn very little. Finally, land tenure issues also need to be resolved for African farmers to be capable of taking ownership of their decisions." ( Leonard Garden)
 
"In one of recent Pieter suggestion I bow. He suggested "I have a suggestion, why don't we all cooperate and build up a central data base of what crops we have available for export in our respective countries. I have the capacity to have the data base hosted on the internet so we all have access to the information. " And this is the practical stuff that can make the use of internet valuable to the development of agribusiness in Africa. However, I want to make 3 points:
1- Maybe strategically and in the course of his normal business/ professional activities, Pieter is far more advance about walking the talk than most the people who contribute to this discussion. Hence, maybe no one here is able to seize the practical opportunity he offers. It had always been like that in electronic fora: a mix of people who know exactly what they are talking about and people who theorize. The truth is that liked-minded and motivated people rarely meet at the cross road of actions. They are very rarely at the right place at the right time.

2- If the market that Pieter offers for share here is, products is needed right now! But in agriculture, and in Africa it needs some time and capricious climate to grow any thing. Plus, the technical itinerary must be as effective and strict to the outcome to match the quality criteria of the market. It is not obvious that subsistence farmers supply such a demand, neither a beginner agribusiness entrepreneur. So, more information is needed about how viable and persistent is the market and what kind of contract Mr. Pieter can have some beginners secure and invest in. Banks in Africa do not want to invest in Agriculture! import of rice is OK because the risk is known and it is low. Governments...? Donors and development institutions outside Africa had better participate in African agriculture development than local governments for most of the time. Hence, who want take the financial risk and leadership?

3. This brings me back to the intervention of Mrs. Oluwabusayo Sotunde. If an individual decide to do it, he will put more of himself and resource in and the only thing at the end of his tunnel is success. However, a small individual success is not what we are talking about here. " (
Andre Ahouissoussi)
 
You can also share your experiences and ideas by living the comments unders this article.