Investing in Agri-processing for resilient food systems
Nairobi, Kenya – Agri-processing companies are at the forefront of building resilient and regenerative food systems in sub-Saharan Africa. The Agribusiness in Africa Window – Round 2 (AAW-R2) – a CAN $20 million programme co-funded by Global Affairs Canada (GAC) and AGRA, and implemented by AECF (Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund) surfaced innovative business models best poised to address challenges faced by small and medium agribusinesses and agri-processors (SMEs) i to access appropriate financing. Our investments have enhanced productivity, decreased post-harvest losses, diversified product offering and created jobs in critical agricultural value chains, resulting in improved livelihoods in rural and marginalized sub-Saharan Africa.
The AAW-R2 Programme availed funding to 19 SMEs across 11 countries which include: Kenya, Nigeria, Malawi, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Uganda, and Burundi/DRC, with businesses working in a variety of agriculture value chains, including maize, legumes, palm oil, bananas, cashew, fruits, sweet potatoes, moringa, livestock production, and digital information services. The programme has impacted 2.9 million lives and 582,338 rural households, 60% of whom live on less than US$ 2 per day.
Victoria Sabula, CEO of the AECF, said,
“Building resilient food systems is a matter of urgency and value addition presents better possibilities for Africa’s smallholder farmers. This programme has demonstrated the essence of investing in Close-to production downstream processing facilities that create markets and reduce costs for rural, smallholder producers while increasing incomes, impacting lives, and providing opportunities for value addition.”
Agnes Kalibata, President of AGRA, said,
“Businesses need to recognize growth opportunities and have the confidence, financing, and capabilities to serve farmers, trade produce, and process food profitably. Farmers need access to appropriate, affordable technologies for producing resilient, quality crops and a fair chance to benefit from the fruits of their labour. Everyone needs to participate in markets that not only enable the efficient flow of physical goods but also the right flow of information for buyers and sellers to find each other. These are the basic building blocks of any sustainable food system, yet in many countries, they are flawed or missing altogether.”
Christopher Thorney, Canadian High Commissioner to Kenya, said
“Canada is proud to partner with African institutions like AGRA and AECF. Their deep contextual knowledge facilitates the achievement and sustainability of results, including increased incomes and improved food security. I look forward to seeing AECF’s growth as Canada and other partners continue to support small and medium enterprises on the continent, particularly those that are women-owned and women-led. I know the lessons we have learned from the Agribusiness in Africa project will undoubtedly lead to even stronger outcomes in the future”
The AAW-R2 programme has affirmed the importance of Investing in rural agro-processing infrastructure at the farm gate which offers the potential to increase the volume and quality of production and create value-added for smallholder farmers further up the value chain.
The Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) is a non-profit institution that supports early and growth stage businesses in the agribusiness and renewable energy sectors to reduce poverty, promote resilient communities and create jobs through private sector investment. AECF invests in businesses that strive to find innovative solutions to tackle development challenges across Sub-Saharan Africa. Our aim is to transform lives, one business at a time by funding early and growth stage businesses that improve the lives of rural communities and display potential for credible commercial viability and growth. For more information, visit www.aecfafrica.org