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.

23 April 2010

Millions Sought for Global Fund to Aid Farms

The Obama administration is proposing to add $408 million to a global fund to boost food production and encourage good farming practices in the developing world, the Treasury Department announced on Thursday.

The fund, created after the Group of 20 meeting in Pittsburgh last year, will begin with contributions from the governments of Canada ($230 million), Spain ($95 million) and South Korea ($50 million) and from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation ($30 million). It is meant to provide money to poorer countries, particularly in Africa, that invest in local farming programs and agricultural development to increase crop yields, administration officials said.

The funds are meant to be invested to improve land use planning, irrigation and farm machinery, to provide technical help to farmers and to build better roads linking farmers with their markets. The World Bank will administer the fund and help choose projects to finance, in conjunction with the African Development Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development.

Link to New York Times article

18 April 2010

Incorporating smallholder farmers in large-scale commercial agriculture

InfraCo’s Chiansi irrigation project in Zambia adopts a fundamentally new approach to boost food production and incomes of smallholder farmers. It involves the creation of a shared, commercially managed water infrastructure system for all landowners. The cost of the irrigation project is paid back from the value uplift generated by the separately managed commercial farm operation, taking place on land of which half is unused land contributed by smallholder farmers. Free irrigation is provided over the smallholder market garden plots. Full article here.