After years of neglect, banks, private equity funds and microfinance institutions are bringing capital to African agriculture
Africa’s agriculture sector has struggled to access the financing it
needs for sustained growth. In part, a perceived combination of high
risk and modest returns – as well as the costs of extending traditional
banking infrastructures in rural areas – has deterred many banks and
“There can be failures in critical infrastructure such as inadequate
cold storage facilities, unexpected disruptions in commodities trading,
lack of adequate feeder roads to production areas, inadequate dry
storage facilities, and congested ports prohibiting the export or import
of products on time,” says Chomba Sindazi, director of Standard
Chartered’s solutions structuring team for Africa. “And there can also
be delays in the supply of critical inputs such as fertilisers, seed and
fuel because of difficulties in getting goods to market. This is a
particular problem in landlocked countries where it can sometimes take
as long as four months to get the inputs to the required areas.”
Without tackling these constraints, and their knock-on effect on
lending, talk of Africa’s green revolution is premature. But solutions
are emerging at last, as banks, NGOs, micro-lenders, governments and
investment funds make inroads into the continent, bringing much-needed
capital to bear.
For large banks, Africa’s rural sector was long seen as a problem.
Just 10 percent of Africans with only primary-level education – which is
the majority of those in rural agriculture – have a bank account,
rising to 55 percent for those with a post-secondary qualification. But
rather than writing off this population, forward-thinking banks have
sought to find new vocabularies to speak to them. Togo-based Ecobank has
proven popular for its simplified language and procedures, which are
more accessible to a wider range of customers than global banks.
Standard Bank, which has operations in nearly 70 countries
worldwide, has also reviewed processes to suit the kinds of financial
information more commonly found in the informal and small-scale sector.
It has also broadened its range of services to include technical
expertise for lendees. The combination of lending and advisory services
is critical, helping the bank protect its portfolio, and helping
customers gain credit and repayment track records.
Standard Chartered shows the same trend. Instead of looking to
traditional collateral, Standard Chartered uses the value of the
commodity being financed as collateral for input financing – as opposed
to conventional mechanisms where collateral is secured through physical
assets and balance sheets. According to Mr Chomba: “Risks associated
with the cultivation of a range of soft commodities are mitigated
through a customised multi-peril insurance policy, and operational
issues are addressed through physical inspection and regular reporting
by a team of independent specialised contract managers and insurance
The arrival of major banks bodes well for the efficiency of the
sector overall. “Banks are interested in investing in businesses and
entrepreneurs that are going to make money and are going to pay them
back – either interest or return on some form of an equity. As
businesses that are profitable come into the agricultural value chains,
that is going to bring in the financing that will support those
businesses,” says Gary Toenniessen, managing director at The Rockefeller
Foundation. Taking equity
Equity financing provides an interesting – and fast-growing – source
of capital. According to the Emerging Markets Private Equity
Association, total private equity capital raised for sub-Saharan Africa
in 2012 was $1.4bn. Agribusiness is proving one of the primary draws.
The Carlyle Group, one of the world’s largest private equity firms, made
its first Africa play late last year, as part of a consortium that
included Pembani Remgro Infrastructure Fund and Standard Chartered
The fund invested $210m in the Export Trading Group (ETG), a
Tanzanian agribusiness with interests in 29 African countries. ETG,
which manages both intra-African and global supply chains and has more
than 7,000 employees, says the investment will enhance its ability to
connect African smallholder farmers with consumers around the world. The
capital will expand the company’s geographical reach while adding to
the quantity and variety of products – which currently includes
commodities ranging from sesame seeds and cashews, to rice and
Private equity can bring broader structural changes too. A part of
the Carlyle consortium investment will go towards building
infrastructure to allow processing to take place in east Africa.
“Typically the margins in processing are much greater than they are in
pure acquisition and distribution, so part of the capital will be used
to put up processing facilities around the continent,” says Marlon
Chigwende, managing director and co-head of the sub-Saharan Africa
buyout advisory team at Carlyle Africa.
Other PE funds and investment actors are also showing a strong
interest in African agribusiness. Phatisa’s African Agriculture Fund,
which focuses on small and medium-sized enterprises, signed its first
deal in 2012, backing Cameroon’s West End Farms. The same year, Morgan
Stanley Alternative Investment Partners and Capitalworks bought out
South Africa’s Rhodes Food Group.
Akin Alabi is a young Nigerian,
inspired by food policies adopted by H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo’s
governments during his time as leader of Nigeria and the resurgence of interest
in Agri-business. He has come up with a unique concept to motivate more
African Youth to venture into the Agro-Business arena via “Agrotainment -
As economic development in the
African context has moved to secondary and service industries in recent years,
the Abandonment of rural enterprise in Nigeria and other parts of Africa is
growing by the day. Factors which make the young and old migrate from rural to
Urban settings include Overpopulation, loss of interest in Agriculture, climate
change (including drought and failed rains), poverty and insecurity.
Corporate Farmers Tv Reality
Show is the first to be developed in Africa as an “Agrotainment” platform whose
mission is to lure the Youth back to the farm and bring passion for economic
empowerment through agribusiness.
The inspiration for this project is
in no small part to celebrate the living legend farmer, the only Agbeloba of
our generation Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. It is our hope that the participants in
the show will emulate Baba’s passion for agriculture. The concept was born to
bridge the need to improve the Agriculture sector in the country in which both
the Federal Government and State governments appear to be pursuing with
dexterity, the growth of Agriculture through the AgricultureTransformation A g
e n d a (ATA)·an initiative of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural
Development under the ministerial leadership of Dr Akinwunmi Adesin
How it will work: 40 various youths
in groups of 5 to 8 will be selected to live in the “Farm House” 3 months.
What will they do? : The project is
scheduled to run for a period of one year broken down into 3 sections
First : registration, selection and
Auditioning of contestants to choose the 40 young Farmers that will enter the
Second Quarter: 40 contestants
enters the farm house for a period of 3 months to do Agriculture in
another dimension via our Agricultural Technical team from IITA , Agricultural
Society of Nigeria. After which 5 will be selected as winner for the
Corporate Farmers TV Reality show season 1.
Third Quarter: This period is the
time to celebrate Agriculture in Nigeria and Africa through the first Nigeria
Agrotainment Award to celebrate Farmers, youth, and Federal states who have
contributed to the resurgence of Agriculture.
Kindly follow any of our social
media links for more info www.corporatefarmers.tv
The Director-General, International
Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Dr. Nteranya Sanginga, has called on
governments to make use of the potential in agriculture to create wealth
In an address delivered to stakeholders
at the Oyo State Economic Summit, Sanginga said there were opportunities
for the youth to start small businesses in seed production, input
supply, weed control and processing, among others.
Represented Deputy Director-General f
Partnerships and Capacity Development, Dr. Kenton Dashiell, the IITA
boss further explained that the youth could also be farmers and use
modern methods that reduce the labour required, raise yields and
Citing the example of the IITA Youth Agripreneurs model, Sanginga said there was the need to change the mindset of the youth.
He explained that the Youth Agripreneurs
project, the first of its kind in the CGIAR, engaged young people from
various educational disciplines through mentoring and training to
transform them into agripreneurs, adding that making agriculture a
business was at the core of the programme.
“This project has so far been successful and we need to scale up,” he said.
The summit attracted industrialists,
including the Chairman, First Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Oba Otudeko;
Chairman, Nigerian Economic Summit Group and Executive Chairman, Philips
Consulting, Mr. Foluso Philips; and Director-General, Standards
Organisation of Nigeria, Dr. Joseph Odumodu.
The Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi,
in his welcome address, said the state was ready to offer incentives and
partnership to investors willing to explore opportunities in the
agricultural and industrial sectors.
He commended the partnership the state
was enjoying with IITA, noting that plans were underway to train young
people in agriculture.
The governor solicited more synergies from other foreign bodies in the human and capital development of the state.
Using data from the private and public
sectors, the governor spoke about several opportunities that abounded in
various sectors and the efforts his administration had undertaken to
make Oyo State an investment destination of choice.
As part of measures to
checkmate the growing rate of unemployment, especially among youths,
Kwara State Government says it will fully engage the youth in
agriculture with the provision of funds and farm inputs as part of its
agriculture masterplan, KAMP.
The State Governor, Dr Abdulfatah Ahmed
disclosed this at a special media chat focused on youth held on Friday
at the Governor’s Lodge, Government House, Ilorin.
The Governor said government
responsibility was to create policies that would drive the economy,
saying that in order to achieve the objectives of youth empowerment, it
embarked on the enumeration of youth that would be positioned into
various skills including Agriculture.
According to him, government set up the
Malete youth farm with the aim of training youth in agriculture,
stressing that already, some of the youths have graduated and given
funds to set up their own farms across the state. “Already, they are
being compartmentalized into crops and locations and are expected to go
to their locations to become change agents in agricultural sector”,
“The success recorded would now enable
us to begin to expand it by choosing people from each of the 16 local
governments who would largely become “change agents” , the governor
According to him, each farmers haven
successfully completed his own farming skill would now become a master
trainer and cluster himself with another set of five to ten farmers.
“The most important part of it was that
we have set up an agric mall because we have to go into agric business
on a commercial bases by looking at the constraint that disallow people
from making success in the agric business” Ahmed said.
He said the Agric Mall would provide
access to funding, agricultural inputs, and access to off-takers, adding
that farmers can now go to the Agric Mall to meet farm extension
workers and banking support team for their services.
“The scheme would now be replicated in
all the three senatorial district of the state. For now we are test
running that of Ilorin, the success of Ilorin will now lead to the
setting up of one or two in Kwara north, one in Shonga axis one in
Kaiama axis and of course some in Kwara south” the governor said.
he Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said on
Wednesday that it would soon introduce a pilot school feeding programme
under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) projects.
This is contained in a statement issued in Abuja by the ministry’s Director, Information and Protocol, Mr Tony Ohaeri.
The statement quoted the Minister of Agriculture and Rural
Development, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, as saying this while presenting
performance reviews of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)-funded
intervention programmes to the House of Representatives Committee on
According to the statement, the minister said that the project was
aimed at combating malnutrition among children as studies have shown one
out of every six children born in Nigeria die before the age of five.
It noted that malnutrition was a major cause of mortality and
morbidity among children less than five years of age and pregnant women.
“Extreme poverty and hunger are also silent mental capacity killers
among children as an under-fed and malnourished child finds it much
harder to learn than his well-fed counterpart.
“To address these problems, the ministry has proposed the
introduction of school feeding as a pilot scheme in Sokoto State and the
FCT in the 2014 budget proposal’’, the statement said.
It quoted Adesina to have said that the major target of the ministry’s intervention in 2014 would focus on women farmers.
The aim, Adesina said, was to raise the number of women farmers with
access to Growth Enhancement Support (GES) scheme from 600,000 in 2013
to 1.5 million this year.
It stated that records showed that where women accessed support in
previous farming seasons, the overall goal of reducing poverty and
hunger among farming families was better felt.
The minister decried the lack of a “perfect synchronisation between
budget releases and the real farming seasons, leading to
non-optimisation of government intervention in climate change, flooding
It stressed the need to increase national irrigation capacity to
support increased dry season farming as well as overcoming security
challenges in the North-East geopolitical zone.
The statement further quoted Adesina as saying that insecurity had
adversely affected productivity and food security in the zone. (NAN)
"When I sleep, all I think about is the potatoes – they are helping my dreams come true."
I am 43 years old and have five children and four grandchildren. I was born here in Mwasonge, Tanzania and I am a farmer. I used to sleep on a rag on the floor with my children, then I met
Mwanaidi. She is a trained farmer, and she gave me new seeds and taught
me how to grow orange sweet potatoes. She taught me about soil
irrigation, crop multiplication, about dividing vines – the things we
didn’t know before. She also taught me more about selling my crop. Customers ask me why my
potatoes are different in colour. I explain that they are orange because
they contain vitamin A, which provides protection in the body and are
good for kids and adults’ growth. So customers get excited and buy from
me. Now we sell seeds, chips, biscuits, doughnuts, flour and even pancakes
all made from sweet potatoes. I work happily knowing I will be getting
out of poverty by doing what I am doing. I am now a leader in my farming
group and teach others what I have learned. When I sleep, all I think about is the potatoes. The dream is always the
same: to finish the house I am building out of brick stones, to sleep
in a comfortable place, to raise the standard of living for my children
and grandchildren and send them all to school.
Female farmers play a vital role in African agriculture, accounting for
the majority of the agricultural workforce. However, agricultural
research and higher education are disproportionately led by men. There
is an urgent need for greater representation of women in the field of
agricultural science and technology (S&T) in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Female scientists, professors, and senior managers offer different
insights and perspectives to help research institutes to more fully
address the unique and pressing challenges of both female and male
farmers in the region. Gender-disaggregated data on S&T capacity are
scarce, often lack sufficient detail, and focus more generally on
S&T rather than on agriculture specifically. Data are not always
comparable due to different methodologies and coverage. The Agricultural
Science and Technology Indicators (ASTI) initiative and the CGIAR
Gender & Diversity (G&D) Program partnered together to address
this information gap. This report presents the results of an in-depth
benchmarking survey on gender-disaggregated capacity indicators,
covering 125 agricultural research and higher education agencies in 15
countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. This is the first study of its kind to
present detailed human resources data on female participation in
agricultural science, the main findings of which include the following: •
Total capacity in terms of the professional staff employed at the
agricultural research and higher education agencies included in this
study increased by 20 percent between 2000/01 and 2007/08, and women
constituted almost half of this capacity increase. The female population
of professional staff grew by eight percent per year on average, which
is four times higher than the comparable rate of increase for the male
population, indicating that the gender gap in African agricultural
sciences is closing. • The proportion of female professional staff
employed at the sample agricultural research and higher education
agencies increased from 18 percent in 2000/01 to 24 percent in 2007/08,
but fewer women have advanced degrees compared to their male colleagues.
In 2007/08, for example, 27 percent of the sample’s professional women
held PhD degrees compared with 37 percent of the sample’s professional
men. • Of concern, about two-thirds of the overall (female and male)
capacity increase comprised staff holding only BSc degrees, indicating
that the overall quality of capacity in agricultural research and higher
education is declining in some Sub-Saharan African countries. Notably,
the total number of male professional staff trained to the MSc level
declined between 2000/01 and 2007/08; however, more in-depth analysis is
needed to explain the underlying causes of these shifts and to what
degree they represent structural changes. • Levels of female
participation in agricultural research and higher education among the
sample agencies were particularly low in Ethiopia (6 percent), Togo (9
percent), Niger (10 percent), and Burkina Faso (12 percent). Shares of
female professional staff were much higher in South Africa, Mozambique,
and Botswana (32, 35, and 41 percent, respectively). • The female share
of students enrolled in higher agricultural education was higher than
the female shares of professional staff employed at the agricultural
research and higher education agencies in most cases, but a significant
proportion of the female students concerned were undertaking only
BSc-level studies (83 percent). • Only 14 percent of the management
positions were held by women, which is considerably lower than the share
of female professional staff employed at the sample’s agricultural
research and higher education agencies (24 percent). • The pool of
female staff is much younger on average than the pool of male staff. •
The prevalence of female professional staff is comparatively higher in
fields related to life and social sciences, and comparatively lower in
fields involving areas traditionally thought of as “hard science”, such
New Holland is a global brand of agricultural machinery produced by CNH Industrial. New Holland agricultural products include tractors, combine harvesters, balers, forage harvesters,
self-propelled sprayers, haying tools, seeding equipment, hobby
tractors, utility vehicles and implements, as well as grape harvesters.
The original New Holland Machine Company was founded in 1895 in New Holland, Pennsylvania; it was acquired by Sperry Corporation in the 1970s, then by Ford Motor Company in 1986, and then by Fiat in 1991, becoming a full line producer. Since 1999, New Holland is a brand of CNH Global (NYSE: CNH), which is majority-owned by Fiat Industrial.
New Holland equipment is manufactured all around the world; the current administrative headquarters are in Turin, Italy,
with New Holland, Pennsylvania serving as the headquarters for North
America and home of the largest hay tools production facility in the
world. With 18 plants spread globally, as well as six joint ventures in
the Americas, Asia and Middle East, the corporation is present in 170
In recent years, the firm has received several awards for its
products, designs, and innovative features. Recently, New Holland
presented the NH2, a hydrogen powered tractor farmers can refill generating energy from renewable sources.
New Holland also owns trademarks for specific innovation on its
products such as ABS Super Steer system, Opti Fan System, Intellifill
system and others
Sub-Saharan Africa has the world’s fastest growing population and
also the youngest. This is a huge opportunity for West Africa as young
people bring energy, vivacity, and innovation into the work force and
can consequently have a transformative impact on economic growth and
social development. The agricultural sector plays a key role in the
Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and represents up to
35% of the region’s Gross Domestic Product. It is currently the
employer of most of West Africans with 60% of the active population
engaged in this sector.
Although agriculture offers an
opportunity to move out of poverty and build satisfying lives for young
people, youth are not attracted by agriculture. The dynamism of the
agricultural sector being a vital factor in efforts to combat poverty
and food insecurity, we would like to further the possible options to
make jobs in agriculture more appealing for the new generations. FAO and the Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition invite you to take part in the online survey on Youth and Agriculture in West Africa.
can also answer the question "How could agriculture become more
attractive for young people?" by SMS to 00 233 26 81 81 81 2.