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Tremendous opportunities for more business-focused African agriculture

For immediate release - Wageningen, 03 October 2016

October 3, 2016

Opportunities for agribusiness to transform African agriculture – especially when coupled with smart farming – are at the forefront of three major events taking place in Accra, Ghana, this month. The 2nd Pan African Agribusiness Incubators Conference and Expo, until 6 October, explores the potential for agribusiness, trade and investment in Africa, including ways of linking smallholders to markets and facilitating the development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME). The conference, which is expected to attract 1,000 participants from around the world, will be followed by the 4th Pan-African Farmer’s Organization (PAFO) Continental Briefing and the 1st PAFO Youth Forum, both of which will run from 6 to 9 October. Youth, and the scope for attracting young people to build a new and vibrant agriculture sector in Africa, will be a special focus throughout all three events.  

Taking the theme Turning science into business: Inclusive agribusiness incubation for vibrant economies, the 2nd Pan African Agribusiness Incubators Conference and Expo showcases opportunities for youth in agribusiness incubation, bringing together public- and private-sector actors, banks and financial services and other agencies who are supporting enterprising start-ups, as well as SMEs engaged in value-chain transformation.

Organised by the African Agribusiness Incubators Network (AAIN), with the support of the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Union (AU) and Ghana's Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) among others, the three-day event is geared towards highlighting opportunities for more business-focused agriculture, especially for young people.

"There will be no agricultural transformation in Africa without agribusiness development at scale," said CTA Brussels Office Manager Isolina Boto, who is participating in sessions on future enterprises for Africa, opportunities for agribusiness incubation and the importance of supporting women as innovators in science and agribusiness.

Other key appointments on the agenda include sessions on global partnerships and networks for agricultural value-chain development and a high-level panel on policy support to youth in agribusiness. This latter session will take place on 5 October, which has been billed as Africa Youth in Agribusiness Day, with the aim of "unlocking the youth potential in agriculture and agribusiness: opportunities and options".

Immediately after the close of the conference, in the same venue and jointly organised by CTA and PAFO, with support from AgriCord, the 4th PAFO Continental Briefing and the 1st PAFO Youth Forum will focus on realising the potential of smart farming and youth entrepreneurship for African agribusiness.

"This trio of events in Ghana is putting the spotlight on the future offered by a new style of agriculture in Africa," said CTA Director Michael Hailu. "Between them, they will map some of the opportunities presented by an agribusiness approach, as well as providing substantial hands-on support, introducing young entrepreneurs to pathways for attracting investors, accessing new technologies and building businesses."

Highlighting the scope for smart farming and for harnessing technology-based innovations for agriculture, CTA will be showcasing successes achieved by information and communications technology (ICT) incubators involved in its AgriHack project – an initiative aimed at helping young entrepreneurs to develop ICT innovations. It will also be offering customised social-media training for agro-entrepreneurs.

Two field drone demonstrations organised for conference delegates and young farmers will show how unmanned aerial vehicles can be used to map crops and identify pests and diseases. Giacomo Rambaldi, Senior Programme Coordinator for ICT4D Innovation at CTA, asks: "Will drones be to agriculture what smartphones have been for rural finance?"


For more information, visit: 

Stéphane Gambier, Senior Programme Coordinator, Communications (CTA)
Tel.: +31 (0)317 46 71 79