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.

22 May 2010

With minimal spending on agriculture, East Africa countries getting poorer

East African countries are giving less than the recommended budgetary provisions for agriculture, pushing the region deeper into poverty, despite its dependence on the industry. Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi are spending less than five per cent of their budgets on agriculture.

According to the 2009 report by the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), that evaluates trends in agricultural development, performance and spending in Africa, agricultural production is on the decline and so is donor support, while aid for food emergencies is on the rise. East African

20 May 2010

AfDB commits USD 40 million in the African Agriculture Fund

The private sector window of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group received, on 19 May 2010, board approval for a USD 40 million equity investment in the African Agriculture Fund (AAF), a private-equity fund designed to respond to the food crisis that severely impacted the continent in 2008 in the wake of escalating food prices and staple export bans. Link

6 May 2010

Tanzania Agricultural Growth Corridor

TANZANIA - Major agriculture projects to be executed in the southern highland regions, the country main food basket, are underway. President Jakaya Kikwete said in Dar es Salaam that the government and the private sector are on the drawing board for the ambitious projects. Mr Kikwete who was addressing local and foreign media attending the 20th edition of World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa Conference which begun today, said the corridor which runs between Rukwa region through Mbeya, Iringa, Ruvuma and Morogoro has huge potential to feed the country if necessary investment was made. "This area has huge agriculture potential and we want to partner with the private sector to invest in this area heavily," said President Kikwete.

Link to AllAfrica.com

Plan to develop Southern Agriculture Corridor in Tanzania receives strong support at World Economic Forum

With the Agriculture Council of Tanzania and international partners, AgDevCo launched the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor Concept Note at the World Economic Forum in Dar es Salaam. The Concept Note received strong endorsement from President Kikwete and multinational companies as well as donor organisations including the UN and IFAD.

4 May 2010

Africa Boom Lures Investors as Growth Set to Double

Investment in Africa from countries such as China and India has rekindled optimism in a continent that sits on the world’s biggest deposits of platinum, chrome and diamonds, attracting a record number of delegates to this year’s World Economic Forum on Africa.

Agricultural loans are another area of growth on the continent, where farming employs 65 percent of the labor force and accounts for 32 percent of gross domestic product, according to the World Bank. Agriculture is being spurred by foreign investment, such as Indian food processing company Karuturi Global Ltd.’s leasing of 300,000 hectares in Ethiopia to produce food for export.

Business Week link