Innovative ways to do business
“Africa must take ownership of its agriculture,” argued PAFO President Dr Theo de Jager at COP 20, the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Peru in 2014. This means that in order to feed itself, Africa must transform its agriculture and agro-industry, a development challenge that depends on small-scale farmers as the primary investors in African agriculture.
Linking farmers to markets
Farmers need to be linked to local, regional and international markets through value chains, in order to increase profits, respond to consumer demand and take advantage of new opportunities. To succeed, this will require increases in finance and investment at all levels of the food chain, especially in terms of improving smallholders access to finance.
‘Big Data’ – the huge amount of information available through the digital data revolution – offers enormous potential to develop innovative products and services to benefit agriculture. For example, precision agriculture, which is closely associated with large-scale farms in developed countries, uses a range of sensors that allow farmers to gather data on vast tracts of land. Such technologies are becoming more accessible in developing countries (e.g. see here). The challenge is to create a conducive environment that promotes their use, and encourages farmers to take advantage of Big Data.
The ICT revolution continues
Cheaper forms of communication, such as mobile phones and their networks, have made critical information accessible to farmers, small traders and business (e.g. read Ahmed Wakea's story). Better information is one of the most effective drivers of change in developing country agriculture. It is essential to continue to improve access to reliable and timely information, especially on the pricing of agricultural products.
The way forward
The Briefing will highlight the key opportunities in agribusiness development for farmers’ organisations; promote public–private partnerships that support agribusiness development; and identify new opportunities in data technologies that support agribusiness and agricultural development in the continent. From these, a plan of action will be developed, to feed into the GFIA itself.
- Follow @CTAflash and @CTABrussels for live updates on Twitter and follow #agribusiness
- Download the continental briefing's background note and programme
- Learn more about the meeting on the GFIA Africa website
- See presentations and comments before, during and after the meetings in the Briefings website
Get better informed
- Learn more about Open data for smallholder farmers and download the Working Paper Open Data and Smallholder Food and Nutrition Security (CTA, Wageningen University and GODAN, 2015).
Read what the PAFO President has to say
- Read about accelerating agricultural transformation in Central Africa
- Read about Generating better outcomes for food and nutrition with open data
- Previous PAFO Continental Briefings focused on agricultural Value Chains Finance (Nairobi, 13-14 July 2014) and the Future of African Agriculture (Yaoundé, 3-5 December 2013).
Watch a video on the perspective of input suppliers, which will be further discussed at GFIA Africa on Sunday 29 November from 9:00 to 11:00 in a session entitled "New opportunities for agribusiness development". CEO Erick Rajaonary will be there to share Guanomad's experience.