Exploiting Agribusiness Opportunities in Africa: Food Security, Employment, and Economic growth

Photo credit:

In various continents of the world, Agribusiness has been known to be a driver of economic growth. In Africa, it has a positive impact as it accounts for 30% of national income as well as a bulk of export revenues and employment. Kenya for example, is a key producer of tea, accounting for 59.6% of total production in Africa. The country is a leading tea exporter and one of the largest black tea producers in the world. With an estimate of 33 million small holder farms in Africa, a vibrant agriculture driven economy can cause increase in yields, increase in income generation, reduce in post- harvest losses and thereby put an end to food wastage. Agribusiness is capable of initiating the agricultural growth that will positively improve the livelihood of Africa’s increasing population. It can fasten Africa’s progress towards development.

In Nigeria for example, over 78.4 million people are willing, able and actively looking for job, development in agribusiness can have a direct impact on this people because an efficient and effective agribusiness will lead to increased employment in agro industrial activities.

Agribusiness does not only cover farmers it covers input suppliers, agro processors, traders, exporters and retailers. It is a term which indicates farming and all other industries, and services, that constitute the supply chain. The business of agriculture is not to be neglected in development priorities, the focus should not only be on urban industrialization, government need to get their role right on building necessary industrial capability and capacity, strengthening managerial capacity and promoting institutional services.

To successfully achieve desired result in agribusiness, understanding and comprehension of the nature of the business and its untapped opportunities is important. Food importation in African countries has to reduce and promotion of local agricultural products has to be carried out adequately. Although there are challenges as regards climate, policies, governance, laws, infrastructure and basic services, the goals to end poverty, hunger, have improved nutrition and sustainable agriculture should be a focus that will ensure motivation. To reduce the incidence of extreme poverty and unemployment, increase in importation, massive migration of rural peasants into the cities, agribusiness needs to be promoted and financially supported efficiently and effectively.

Africa’s projected population by 2050 is 2 billion; the continent has an estimate of more than one- fourth of the total un-fed people in the world. To guide against starvation, rapid rise in food prices, severe malnutrition, food riots, extreme poverty, higher rate of social vices and diseases; there is indeed a crucial need, to exploit the opportunities in agribusiness and make the business of agriculture more productive and profitable like never before so as to achieve improved social outcomes and solve the problem of poverty and food insecurity.

For a better result, Africa needs to take important decisions concerning agribusiness opportunities and act in a better way.

Written by Idowu T.Owoeye


Learning Route: Innovative ideas and approaches to integrate Rural Youth in Agriculture. The progress in Kenya

The PROCASUR Corporation in Africa in collaboration with the International Fund of Agricultural Development (IFAD) has partnered with the Junior Farmer Field Schools (FAO), Strengthening Rural Youth Development through Enterprise (TechnoServe), Mkulima Young and USTADI to develop a Learning Route (LR) on “Innovative Ideas and Approaches to Integrate Rural Youth in Agriculture”. This Learning Route will be taking place in Kenya, between the 16th and the 24th of August 2015.

Through a face-to-face learning, the 8-day Learning Route includes the opportunity of learning directly in the field and from its protagonist some of the best practices some of the best initiatives implemented in favour of youth transforming policies into actions and progress.

The Main objective of this Learning Route is to contribute to lesson-sharing and learning at country and regional level in order to build technical capacities within IFAD’s operations and partners and other development practitioners within the African region on innovative strategies and approaches to engage rural youth in agriculture, increase employment and reduce poverty.

During this unique journey through knowledge, participants will be supported by PROCASUR and experts, in the design of an “Innovation Plan” aimed at integrating and adopting the best practices in their respective settings and enhancing their organizations and projects performance in delivering specific youth services and actually include activities benefitting young people.

A Contest after the Learning Route will prize the best two Innovation Plans with a starting capital of USD 2500.

To apply please follow this link to get the necessary forms

AGROPRENEUR NAIJA! Emerges winner in the 2014 #YoBloCo Awards.

Olawale OJO receiving the YoBloCo Award at the FIN4AG14,  in Nairobi, Kenya

Olawale OJO receiving the YoBloCo Award at the FIN4AG14, in Nairobi, Kenya

The winners of the Youth in Agriculture blog competition (Yobloco Awards) were announced on the 17th of July, 2014 during the cocktail dinner organized at the Fin4Ag International Conference in Nairobi, Kenya where Agropreneur Naija Blog came out as the Best Agriculture Blog in West Africa in the Institutional Category. Results were announced in the presence of participants of the Fin4Ag conference, and in the presence of various personalities including the Director of CTA, Michael Hailu. Olawale Ojo C.E.O of Agropreneur Nigeria was in attendance to receive the Award on behalf of the Agropreneur Naija Team. Apart from the cash price won, each winner received an Award Plague, a Certificate and various CTA publications.

The competition was organized according to the framework of the ARDYIS Project, and aims to raise youth awareness and improve their capacity on agricultural and rural development issues in Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, using ICTs. The blog competition aims to put into public interest successes and issues faced by youth engaged in agriculture in urban and rural areas; and to encourage the production of information and the use of new information and communication technologies by young farmers groups and organizations interested in the youth in agriculture issue.

Subsequent to blog submissions, 121 blogs participated in the individual category and 24 blogs in the institutional category went through the public evaluation process where the public voted for two of their favourite blogs in the individual category and commented on the institutional blogs. 30 qualifying blogs which received the highest number of public votes in the individual category were selected and all the blogs from the institutional category which went through public evaluation were analysedand evaluated by the jury.After a keenly contested online voting process, the jury made its decision where Agropreneur Naija! Emerged among the Top 12 bloggers of the Yobloco Awards invited to take part in the Fin4Ag international Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, from the 14 – 18 july, 2014, where the winners of the YobloCo Awards were be announced.

Agropreneur Naija the social media outlet of Agropreneur Nigeria participated in the 2014 Edition of the Youth in Agriculture blog Competition (YobloCo Awards) which was organized by the Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation (CTA) in collaboration with other partners including e-agriculture, African Youth Foundation (AYF),Pacific Agriculture and Forestry Policy Network (PAFPNet), Caribbean Farmer’s network (CAFAN) , Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), African Network for Agriculture, Agroforestry and Natural Resources Education (ANAFE) and Association Yam Pukri among others.

Watch here a 2 min video showcasing the 12 finalist blogs and played before the announcement of results.

Other Winners of the YoBloCo Awards announced at the Fin4Ag Conference can be found on the YobloCo website.

For more information on the competition visit

We would like to use this medium to thank first our readers, fans, and supporters. Many thanks to all those who took part during the public evaluation process.

Six tips for Nigerian banks to help financing agriculture


As I sat in the e-conference Hall of the Kenya School of Monetary Studies, the venue for the 2nd African Continental Briefing organised as part of the Fin4Ag Conference: Revolutionising Finance for Agri-value chains, I could not but help listen attentively as Esther Muiruri, the General Manager Marketing and Communications, from Equity Bank gave the presentation on “Banking Agriculture in the Eastern African Region”. As she spoke, all I could say to myself was “These are the things the banks in Nigeria should be doing to finance agriculture”.

Today I am going to share the 6 things done by the Equity Bank in East Africa, that in my view, I believe Nigerian Banks will find helpful if implemented both for them as a business and for the beneficiaries (players in the agric sector).

Understand the client: the risks in agriculture are not perception, they are realities. As a matter of fact, there are some conditions that the farmers absolutely have no control over. Thus, it is important that bank understand the farmers, the peculiarity of their business, be it cropping or animal production. What this does is to enable the banks develop and offer products and services tailored to the need of the client.

Know the kind of value chain the client is into: This helps the banks identify and know the players in the sector the client is. Who are the buyers? What is demand like? How effective are the other players in the chain.

Recruiting Agric based employee: The Equity Bank, according to Esther Muiruri, ensures they employed people with agricultural knowledge base and this helps them to have people on the ground who can relate to the feelings of the farmers, and more importantly, build a relationship with clients (farmers/growers), that in turn, aid to serve as a risk mitigation strategy. These employees are of course trained in money management and finance.

Offering trainings for farmers: these trainings help the banks to understand better the activities of the farmers in terms of their growing cycle and practices. It also help to get feedbacks and monitor the progress of the farmers and other value chain player throughout the season.

Provision of financial training programme: The farmers are given financial education to aid their businesses and also encourage them to save so as to be able to have access to investment money from the bank.

Partnership: To be able to serve their client well, the bank partners with relevant organisations like AGRA, IFAD, input dealers, commodity buyers and this enables them know the acceptable standards, new best practices and technology available.

To be able to finance the agriculture value-chain, fund providers must understand what goes on in the agricultural system. Seating in offices and waiting for client will not help. Activities need to be on the ground. Banks need to be in the shoes of the farmers, growers and agribusiness owners to know and meet their needs. And the only way to achieve this is by building relationships and going all the way out to provide tailored services and products for farmers and relevant value chain players.

Will the Nigerian Banks take up this task and make changes that will help in revolutionising agriculture and agribusiness? Will they contribute in removing so many smallholders out of poverty helping them increase their income and be better player in agribusiness? Only time will tell..

Photo credit: C. Schubert/CCAFS

First published on the CTA blog

Youth Session-Animal Agriculture; the next frontier for the youth in Africa #APPLY


The All Africa Society for Animal Production (AASAP) in conjunction with the Animal Production Society of Kenya (APSK) and the Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (MoALF) will hold its biannual conference with the theme “Africa’s Animal Agriculture: Macro-trends and future opportunities” .

The conference aims to provide an opportunity for African and international scientists and the broader stakeholder groups in the animal science sector to discuss the potential role of animal agriculture as a gateway to improve the livelihoods of African people. The broader objective of this assembly will be met by attempting, through discussions of a series of papers, to answer various questions rotating around five thematic areas. It is hoped that, at the end of the conference, there will be specific recommendations for the key questions.

Theme- Animal Agriculture; the next frontier for the youth in Africa

Date- October 27-30, 2014.

Venue- Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Nairobi, Kenya

The conference will provide an opportunity for multi-disciplinary players within and outside the African continent to exchange ideas on key issues around the five themes and seek ways to address associated challenges while harnessing the opportunities such challenges present for the Animal agriculture sector in the continent. In particular, The Youth and Future of Animal Agriculture will be a core thematic area of the conference.

The Youth session is set against the back drop that, Sub-Saharan Africa has the world’s youngest population and is home to over 200 million young people. Two out of three inhabitants are under the age of 25 years and 44% of its population is below the age of 15. About 70% of the youth reside in rural areas and those that are employed work primarily in the agricultural sector, where they account for 65% of the labour force. Young African men and women are critical to the development of agriculture and for consolidating efforts to attain food and nutrition security in the continent. They are the future farmers, policy makers, leaders, and researchers as well as the future drivers of Africa’s socio-economic and technological development!

The Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) and Dr Joram Mwacharo of The International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA) have partnered to convene The Youth Session on 28th October 2014 during the 6th All African Conference on Animal Agriculture. Through this session we hope to drive the debate away from questions such as “How can farming be made more attractive to young people?” toward a broader analysis of the opportunities and challenges for different categories of young people in animal agriculture. Such an analysis will take account of changes not only in food production, but also in processing (value addition) and transformation, marketing, retail, governance, information technology etc. We also intend to have a question and answer session involving three to four panellists that will be followed by an open discussion.

Participants If you are:

· Involved in the animal agriculture (dairy, beef, swine, small ruminant, poultry, the horse industry, aquaculture, wildlife, veterinary medicine, livestock business and marketing, animal welfare and behavior, animal nutrition science, animal reproduction science, or genetics).
· Involved in the business, banking and information technology sector
· 15-35 years of age OR older and working with the youth.
· Someone with a success story related to youth involvement in animal agriculture
· An engaging and inspiring speaker and leader who is passionate about youth issues.

Then you are the person we need to grace the Youth Session.

To participate/apply, please send us a concise abstract of 250 words maximum, written in English. Authors may submit articles based on practical experiences, research findings, case reports/studies, retrospective studies or expressing interest to participate in exhibitions or practical demonstrations within the realms of the Youth Session Theme – Animal Agriculture: The next frontier for the youth in Africa. Authors are requested to indicate their preference for oral or poster presentation. Selected papers will be published in a special journal issue of the East African Agricultural and Forestry Journal (EAAFJ) hosted by the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI).

Please send your abstracts/applications to by May 16th, 2014, highlighting in the email subject line your interest to participate in the AACAA Youth Session. Potential speakers will be put forward to a selection committee and will be notified by June 1st, 2014. The selection of participants will take into account continental, regional, country and gender balance.

The Organisers

Food, Agriculture, Natural Resources and Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), is a regional policy, research, and advocacy network. It is coordinated from South Africa but has a mandate to work Africa-wide in promoting linkages between government and civil society; capacity enhancement for policy research and advocacy; and stimulating demand for evidence-based food security policy in Africa. It is represented in 17 African countries and brings together Food, Agriculture and Natural resources (FANR) stakeholders ranging from government to private sector, civil society and research or academic institutions. FANRPAN has extensive experience in using engagement platforms to bring together different actors to engage at local, national, regional and international levels. Visit the website

Dr Joram Mwacharo is a Scientist (Animal Geneticist/Genomics) with the International Centre for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas and is interested in mentorship of youth with interest in Animal Science. He is volunteering his services to co-convene the youth session during the AACAA.

For more information contact:

FANRPAN: Sithembile Mwamakamba;

Dr Tshilidzi Madzivhandila;

Dr Joram Mwacharo:

Photo credit @IFRC

Eleven young entrepreneurs to kickstart the Global Landscapes Forum

Tan Copsey - BBC

From oyster farming to Uganda’s post-war forests: Eleven young entrepreneurs to kickstart the Global Landscapes Forum

Youth: The Future of Sustainable Landscapes
09:00 CET on November 16
Old Library, University of Warsaw, Poland

Confirm your attendance by emailing: m.kovacevic[at]
Watch it live at
Join the discussion on Twitter: @GlobalLF #GLFCOP19

To request media interviews, contact:
Alison Binney at
Cell: +61 428 900 450

Be it oyster farming, social forestry, agribusiness, climate policy or lands rights advocacy, young people are inspiring the world to achieve sustainable landscapes.

We received 150 submissions from over 50 countries, each illustrating how engaged young people are in “landscape approaches” for sustainable environmental and economic development in a climate-changing world. From these submissions, we have chosen 11 young and enthusiastic entrepreneurs to take the stage at the Global Landscapes Forum to inspire discussion and encourage others to make a change in their communities.

For more details about this event, see here. To understand why we need an event targeted to youth, read this.

Our speakers are:

Tan Copsey, BBC Media Action – Inspiring rural youth to take action on climate change

What can rural youth do about climate change? Tan will draw on thousands of case studies from the BBC’s recent Climate Asia research to show how young people can adapt to changes in climate and inspire others to take action.

Bunmi Ajilore, Nigeria — The influence of images on young minds: How positive stories can help feed the world

“The major obstacle standing in the way of young Nigerians from going into agriculture is the negative image problem. Nobody wants to till the land and wait for a meager profit when his contemporaries sit behind computers in air-conditioned rooms and make cool cash,” says Bunmi in a recent blogpost. Using a number of personal stories and stories of other youth in agriculture, Bunmi fights the negative image of agricultural work, to inspire more youth to embrace farming.

Izzy Lawrence, Connect4Climate — Barriers to action: Empowering youth to overcome challenges in landscapes sectors

Young people have the power to change the world but often they let their chance slip away. Izzy will talk about how Connect4Climate has empowered youth to speak out and overcome barriers to action, highlighting social media campaigns and competitions with youth in Kenya, Bangladesh and Trinidad and Tobago dealing with issues such as climate change, food security, forestry and waste challenges.

Otim Joseph, Uganda – Uganda’s untold success story: How a youth social forestry effort restored the post-war landscape

Otim was only 2 years old when the Lord’s Resistance Army insurgency began. He watched as refugees and militia, desperate for wood fuels and food, destroyed the landscape. But unemployed youths, born and raised in the displaced persons camps, single-handedly began an huge effort to restore their degraded landscapes.

Nadia Manning-Thomas, Barbados – Linking development, youth and retail in an unconventional way

After spending many years working as a knowledge-sharing specialist in developing countries and being moved by the small-scale producers she met, Nadia felt inspired to open a personal and household accessories retail shop with her husband. Danaqa World Chic combines a unique commercial approach to sustainable development that links quality products made in developing countries with customers in Europe. Nadia will share the personal stories of some of her suppliers (often young people) as well as the lessons she learned in ‘daring to be different’.

Alhagie Modou Jang Barry, The Gambia – Have your oyster and eat it too: Addressing youth unemployment and marine biodiversity

The Gambia is the smallest country in mainland Africa, but it is one of the key oyster producing countries in the continent. Training more young oyster farmers to inherit leadership roles from the aging adult oyster farmers is a priority. Alhagie will discuss how the Gambia Young Oyster Farmers Association is helping over 20,000 Gambians obtain microfinance loans and management skills to run their own oyster farms and marine conservation projects.

Joseph Macharia, Kenya – Luring youth back to farms: The power of social media

In Kenya, it’s normal for someone to be given livestock as retirement gifts (the average farmer is 65 years old). This idea of farming as an old person’s activity bothered Joseph, so he set out to broaden the appeal of agriculture to Kenya’s youth using social media.  Nine months ago Joseph started a Facebook page to help Kenyan farmers exchange information and market their produce – and has never looked back.

Karen Tuason, Philippines: From landless to landowner: Collectively empowering young farmers

Growing up in an island in the Philippines where residents are mostly farmers or fisherman, Karen knows that access to land does not automatically translate to increased income and guaranteed food for the family. She’ll talk about her experience in empowering young landowners to collectively address and improve food security, purchasing power, education and health of their community.

Stephen Kibet, Kenya: Kenya’s youth use mapping technology to combat soil erosion

Communities living in Kenya’s Kerio Valley and Lake Baringo depend on agricultural production for their livelihood, yet soil erosion has degraded the landscape and affected their food security. Stephen will discuss how youth groups have become a key player in implementing readily available, low cost mapping technologies and changing land conservation practices, to help people conserve and manage their own natural resources,

Zaid Shopeju, Nigeria – Powered by passion for change: Youth building a zero carbon Africa

It was at the height of the UNFCCC meeting on climate change in Durban in 2011 when, despite their limited numbers, knowledge of the process and capacity, a group of African youths outlined their vision for Zero Carbon Africa. This truly youth-powered social movement aimed to empower and inspire action in Africa to combat climate change. Zaid will speak about his experience with the youth movement, now operating in 35 African countries.

The event will be moderated by:

Sithembile Ndema Mwamakamba, Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) 

Sithembile manages the FANRPAN Youth and Gender Programme, aimed at promoting inclusive agriculture policies for women and youth and their greater engagement in the agriculture sector. She coordinates multi-country case studies and dialogues on current and emerging youth policies and initiatives in the agricultural sector. Prior to this she led the Women Accessing Realigned Markets (WARM) project aimed at strengthening the capacity of women farmers to influence agricultural policy development in Africa using an innovational tool, Theatre for Policy Advocacy (TPA).

Remember: there are 150 submissions in total and you can vote for your favorites here to receive a public prize. Share these submissions on Twitter (use the #GLFCOP19 tag) and Facebook, and invite your friends and colleagues to vote too. Spread the word, vote and share your views!


 Youth: The Future of Sustainable Landscapes is organized by YPARD and the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) with the invaluable support of CCAFS. The event is funded by CGIAR, CTA and GFAR.

YPARD is an international movement by young professionals for Young Professionals for Agricultural Research for Development. YPARD operates as a global on-line and off-line communication and discussion platform and is meant to enable young professionals all over the world to express their ideas and realize their full potential towards a dynamic agricultural research for development.

The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) is a nonprofit, global facility dedicated to advancing human wellbeing, environmental conservation and equity by conducting research that enables more informed and equitable decision-making about the use and management of forests in less-developed countries.

This article was originally posted on, the official website of the GLF COP19 event.