In any sub-Saharan African village, a group of farmers is struggling with limited resources to till its land to get revenue and provide food for their families and the 950 million people living in the region. Still, their group dominates the poorest segments in the world. They lack access to inputs, financial services, technology, and market, among others. Improving farmers’ access to those resources will increase their productivity and support the transformation of African agriculture to a modern and profitable venture. The African Development Bank estimates that the transformation of selected key value chains will require approximately US$315–400 billion over the next decade.
During the 2016 African Green Revolution Forum, African agriculture stakeholders including governments, businesses, and development partners made a serious step towards the mobilization of these financial resources. They pledged more than US $30 billion dollars in investments to increase production, productivity, income and employment for smallholder farmers and local African agriculture businesses over the next ten years. As reported by AGRA, the pledges include the following:
- US $24 billion from the African Development Bank (AfDB) over the next ten years, a 400 percent increase over previous commitments, to help drive agricultural transformation in Africa.
- Support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to contribute at least US $5 billion to African development over the next five years. It is expected that will include at least US $1 billion for agriculture, based on expenditures in recent years.
- US $180 million in additional commitments from The Rockefeller Foundation.
- US $350 million from Kenya Commercial Bank Group (KCB) to finance agriculture business opportunities that could reach some two million smallholder farmers, which is 5 percent of the bank’s overall lending portfolio.
- A commitment by the World Food Programme (WFP) to purchasing at least US $120 million of its agricultural products each year from smallholder farmers through a partnership called the Patient Procurement Platform.
- US $150 million over the next five years from OCP Africa to support local fertilizer distribution, storage and blending in Africa.
- Over $US 3 billion to African agriculture over the next six years from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) –in keeping with its current policy of spending at least 50 percent of its annual US $1.1 billion in Africa.
Such pledges and interests in the agricultural sector strengthen the positioning and commitment of DagriVest to support investment in agribusinesses. Africa needs to secure its future and sustain the recent economic growth through the transformation of its agriculture for more income and increased livelihoods for farmers.
Picture credits: AGRA