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

Photo credit: esoko.com

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


Youth tells about Migration for Development – International Youth Day (IYD2013)


Happy International Youth Day 2013 ! IYD is celebrated every year by the UN on the 12 August. The theme for this year is ‘Youth Migration: Moving Development Forward’.

We asked young students and professionals in agriculture to share with us their experiences and insights about youth migration and its relation to Development. We particularly invited them to discuss rural-urban migration and emigration phenomena.

We have been amazed by the thoughtful and inspiring pieces that came in! We received 17 blog posts in English and French. “Follow” our Young professionals from very different parts of the World: from Benin, to Brazil, to France, Fiji Islands, Nepal, Trinidad etc !

These are individual stories showing different perspectives of migration. Each author had his/her own reason(s) to leave…and to come back sometimes. They lived both the positives and negatives of rural-urban migration and emigration.

Stories from Nigeria particularly highlight the urge to leave Nigeria for pursuing better education. Apeh claims the need for better recognition of youth talents, which he finds abroad but not in his country. Olawale sees no other choice but to go abroad to study for returning with proper skills that would help his peers to get involved in agriculture and his country to fight food insecurity. Raymond, Zimbabwe also highlights the role of Diaspora to bring back knowledge. In another hand, Adebola warns that one has to have a proper purpose for migration – abroad is not an Eldorado, and success is not always at the corner.

While giving a big picture of the reasons and consequences of migration in Nepal, Mahat focuses his key message on the need for better support to youth and science and technologies in Nepal.

Enricka, from Trinidad, moved for employment and raises the negatives of migration : missing family, hardship to settle in town etc. In her opinion, Government must help rural areas to be more attractive and thus prevent migration.

Frejus, Benin, also emphasizes the lack of attractiveness of rural areas and the need for support from the Government and Private sector to enable more opportunities in the country side and in the agricultural sector. Arsène talks about the push-pull factors of the rural-urban phenomena and the role of ICTs in migration dynamics in Benin. Sofa discusses this as well, by presenting the case of Modogan. Ben gives the example of some young rural boys who chose to become taxi-moto drivers in city instead of staying in the village.

Rebeca, Brazil, shares with us that her dad’s migration inspired her own experience. Particularly, by living in some other countries, she found out the importance of Food Security to help Life of millions of people in Brazil and beyond, and how much agriculture is actually cool ! For Grace, Kenya, her migration experience as a Student in the UK was an « eye-opener » – she realized that she had to and wanted to go back home and work for food security on-the-ground.

Moses, from Uganda, calls his peers to stay and work on what they can do for their own country and their individual success: youths are their best asset. Furthermore promoting agriculture and its opportunities is a way to tackle rural-urban migration.

Dinesh, Nepal, calls for youth to get better education and more voice on policy level in their country. They should also exploit the power of ICTs to make agriculture sexy and more innovative. Andrew from Fiji and Yvon, from Benin, present their initiatives aiming at keeping young professionals in rural areas, focusing on better marketing opportunities and diversification.

Marina, France, draws a paradisiacal picture of rural areas. However, she discusses the importance of migration in order to broaden people’s perspectives and think « global », towards working on a Sustainable Development for All. She sees ICTs, internet and social media mainly, as a hope towards this purpose, while avoiding desertification of country side.

This collection of testimonials doesn’t aim at giving an answer to youth migration as a possible way to move development forward. We hope this mosaïc of experiences will give some « food for thoughts » and a representation of how complex the theme of migration is.

Please, do comment on the different blog posts: have you experienced the same situations and feelings; how do you foresee your own future in term of migration; etc?

Enjoy the reading and looking forward to hearing your feedback!

Full list of contributions

And also in French: