Whether for profit or social motives - and often both - an increasing number of investors are targeting opportunities in African agriculture. At the same time innovative approaches for deploying aid to support farming businesses linked to smallholders are emerging. This blog provides a snapshot of who is doing what, where and how.

28 November 2009

Smallholder farming key, COMESA told

Member States of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) have been called upon to strengthen the existing initiatives and alliances that are geared towards the promotion of market oriented smallholder agriculture. CapitalFM link.

25 November 2009

World Bank to start agriculture fund with $1.5 bln

The World Bank will start a trust fund to boost agriculture in poor countries with an initial $1.5 billion, its president Robert Zoellick said on Tuesday, warning of the risk of another food price crisis. Reuters link.

24 November 2009

Africa’s agriculture sector grew more than 3.5 percent in 2008, compared to a population growth on the continent of 2 percent, the FAO says. However, several factors stand in the way of increased and sustainable food production in Africa. Eighty percent of the continent’s farms are less than two hectares. Irrigation is scant - only three percent of land in sub-Saharan Africa is irrigated, compared to more than 20 percent globally. Fertilizer use is far less in sub-Saharan Africa than it is in the rest of the world. For example, in 2002 it was only 13kg per hectare, compared to 190kg in East Asia and the Pacific. Link to Africa.com article

9 November 2009

WFP Making Inroads on Alleviating Hunger

A senior Official at the World Food Program says a pilot project in 21 developing countries, including 15 in Sub-Saharan Africa, to alleviate hunger is showing promising results. In an exclusive interview with VOA, WFP Deputy Executive Director Sheila Sisulu, says the farmers' associations involved in the project are starting to profit from the sale of their produce. News.com link.

5 November 2009

Arab bank to step up support for African agriculture

The Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) is to step up funding for agriculture projects to help governments stave off future food price crises and droughts, the bank's director general said. Abdelaziz Khelef told Reuters the bank would increase total commitments to $1 billion under a new 2010-2014 five-year plan, a $100 million increase from the previous plan. Reuters link