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.

30 July 2010

AgDevCo announces launch of catalytic fund in the Beira Corridor

AgDevCo announces the launch of a catalytic fund focusing on agribusiness opportunities in the Beira Corridor of Mozambique. The fund is deigned to support commercially-viable agriculture projects which benefit smallholder farmers and local communities. Proposals are now invited from entrepreneurs. More information.

22 July 2010

Fund to invest in improved seed production

The West Africa Agricultural Investment Fund (WAAIF) and Injaro Investments Limited (Injaro) have announced the First Closing of the first ever West African fund focused on investing in indigenous seed production companies.

The initial investors in the fund are -The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and the Lundin for Africa Society, a Vancouver-based foundation. The launch of this fund will provide capital that is desperately needed by West Africa's critical but nascent seed production industry. Link to full article

17 July 2010

Senior UN official urges Africa to focus on agriculture, jobs and social services

A combination of investment in agriculture, basic social services and job creation is the key to ensuring that Africa can meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – including slashing poverty, reducing illiteracy and boosting maternal and child health, all by 2015 – according to a senior United Nations official.
Helen Clark, Administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), made the comments during her three-day visit to Ghana which wrapped up today.

Miss Clark, who met with Ghanaian officials, including President John Evans Atta Mills, and several Government ministers, praised the country’s advances towards the MDGs.

“Ghana has a great story to tell about how investing in agriculture drove down poverty, and there are many blessings to share,” she stated, pointing to a successful democratic transition, the establishment of solid institutions and legal reforms, among other things.
Link to full article

1 July 2010

Small farmers should get on the "land grab" bandwagon

If you are a small farmer in a developing country, and there is a big agricultural land investment deal going down in your neighbourhood, you could become part of it and make money in several ways, said a new UN-backed study. A growing number of "land grab" deals, especially in Africa, have hit the headlines of late.

The study - Making the most of agricultural investment: A survey of business models that provide opportunities for smallholders - examined agricultural investment models that have included small farmers and suggested changes to make sure the poor were not short-changed; more than 70 percent of people living in developing countries are small farmers.

To make these models work you need strong policies in place and vigilant governments to "police" the deals, said Sonja Vermeulen, deputy director of research at the Denmark-based Challenge Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security, one of the study's two authors.

Link to Reuters article