Friday, 29 April 2016

Nigeria Targets Youths in New Agriculture Initiative

it is in this vein that several stakeholders in the Agricultural sector: Agriculture ministers, High-level officials of 20 African countries/governments, Representatives of regional institutions such as the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and sub-regional research organizations (ASARECA,CORAF, and CCARDESSA), 

Collaborating partners from CGIAR and other international research institutions such as AfricaRice, ICARDA, IFPRI, ICIPE, and ILRI, Representatives of private enterprises, Nongovernmental organizations, Youth agricultural entrepreneurs will all be present at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Corporate Farmers International (CFIL) and Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)’s initiative on youth in agribusiness, entitled: Engagement of Youth Entrepreneurship for Agricultural Transformation in Africa at IITA, Ibadan, Nigeria.
This will lead to the development of an African wide program on “Youth Agribusiness Development Initiative”:a Private-Public partnership to Advance Youth employment in 
Agriculture and Agribusiness in Africa, which has the main Objective to:
1. Brainstorm and encourage innovative thinking on how to directly engage the youth in more diverse and productive roles in agriculture
2. Identify strategies for the empowerment of rural youth in agriculture based on tailored pathways that offer opportunities in agribusiness, local service provision, and market-oriented agriculture
3. Develop the Pan-African Youth in Agribusiness program

Key strategic interventions to realize the workshop’s recommendations include:
1. Establishing the Africa Youth Agribusiness Development Initiative (YADI) that advances training in vocational agriculture to demonstrate and promote opportunities for youth.
2. Back stopping (through intensive and modular training programs) rural enterprise development with quality science and action research to develop products and technologies that attract the youth.
3. Building a network of well-educated and motivated young entrepreneurs around rural agribusiness service clusters (hubs)that attract private sector investors for long-term sustainable development.
4. Mobilizing the energies of skilled youth as service providers to the larger farming community.

Since the event is targeted at the Youth, it is expected that:
• Engaging youth in entrepreneurship for agricultural transformation in Africa can succeed by bringing resources to bear on a consistent strategy for the long haul supported by regional policy advocacy and policy leadership spearheaded by IFAD and AfDB agriculture and education sectors.
• The program will aim to increase the income of 1.0 million youth by at least an additional US$450 every year as a result of training in agribusiness that allows a doubling of production,processing, and marketing of major stable crops that include cassava, banana, soybean and horticulture, and livestock(poultry and fish) over a period of five years in selected impact-zones across the continent.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

This is an #Emergency Doagric - Dbanj

This is an #Emergency DoAgric it PAYS

Stakeholders discuss agriculture financing

Accra, April 26, GNA - Mr Seth Terkper, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, on Tuesday said the country's economic growth and structural transformation could be propelled by a thriving agricultural sector.

He said an efficient and productive agricultural sector would undeniably enhance Ghana's prospect for an accelerated growth.

'In view of the significance of the sector, Government has decided to place greater emphasis on mechanised and commercial agriculture as well as agribusiness and value addition as means of growing the Ghanaian economy and creating employment,' he said.

In a speech read for him at the Third Annual Ghana Agribusiness Investment Summit in Accra, Mr Terkper said the country could not make overall progress unless the mass of small-scale food producers achieve significant improvement in their productivity through increased investment and changes in technologies.

He said government sought to improve productivity along the entire value chain, which includes inputs distribution and adoption of technologies for farming activities, marketing, processing and retailing.

The summit under the theme, 'Expanding the frontiers of Agricultural Finance in Ghana', is being organised by USAID under its Financing Ghanaian Agriculture Project (USAID-FinGAP) in collaboration with the Ministries of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) and the Finance and Economic Planning to find innovative ways of financing agribusinesses in Ghana.

USAID-FinGAP is a five year project- 2013 to 2018- with the goal of facilitating finance and investments in the maize, rice and soy supply in the north of Ghana, and improving ancillary services to enable agribusinesses to operate at full capacity and expand levels of food security in the country.

The Minister announced that government through prudent policy planning has been working to ensure the full maximisation of the benefits of agriculture.

He said expanding and increasing credit to farmers; creation of special value chain system and provision of incentivised tax regimes are some of the policy measures government was implementing to improve the well-being of farmers in Ghana.

He said apart from such policies to ensure that the agriculture sector is attractive to private sector operators, government was also implementing broad-based fiscal policies to create enabling business-friendly environment for investment.

'Through deliberate government interventions, this sector has gradually been moving from subsistence farming system to a more mechanised and commercialised one. It should, however, be emphasised that the transition has happened due in part to substantial private sector investments,' he added.

Dr Ahmed Yakubu, Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture, said using the private sector as front liners would increase agriculture growth in Ghana and commended the USAID-FinGAP and other development partners for the project.

He said Ghana has relevant financial structures but the multiplicity of work of the private sector does not enable public investment for agribusiness.

He noted that cheaper source of financing to increase investment to the sector would enable farmers enhance their productivity in the maize, rice and the soy value chain.

Dr Yakubu said Ghana's agriculture sector has gone through several stages saying how 'we saw a farmer as a farmer is no more the case today because we now have farmers in dis-aggregated form and we need to do investments strategically to bring the out the best benefits.

'Now we look at qualification and participation because the farmer in the past was living in the non-digital age and today we are in the digital age hence, the same tools used in agriculture cannot facilitate the work of the modern digital world.

'That is why MOFA in collaboration with its development partners and the Ministry of Finance are investing to add the youth and women onto the project.

The United States Ambassador to Ghana, Robert P. Jackson, said the USAID-FinGAP supports USAID Ghana's activities in the United States Government's Feed the Future Strategy, which aims to establish commercially-driven agricultural development service critical to reducing food insecurity and poverty.

'USAID-FinGAP is also contributing to the joint efforts by USAID and the Government of Ghana to address the major constraint to Ghana's economic growth including the development of financial sector infrastructure and increasing small medium including large enterprises' (SMiLEs) access to finance,' he added.


By Patience Azaglo Gbeze/Celestine Tsievor

The African Food Systems Initiative - Kofi Annan Foundation


Why can Africa not feed itself?
Millions of Africans go hungry every day, making the continent the world’s most food-insecure region. Women and children are particularly at risk. Grain yields remain well below the world average. Low productivity, inadequate policies, and chronic underinvestment are at the heart of Africa’s food and nutrition insecurity and the prevalence of extreme poverty. However, Africa has the potential to become the world’s agricultural powerhouse. It contains much of the world’s remaining uncultivated arable land. The Kofi Annan Foundation seeks to empower smallholder farmers to unlock Africa’s Agricultural potential.

The African food System Initiative
The Kofi Annan Foundation encourages the public and private sectors to increase investment in agriculture, and implement evidence-based policies that will enable smallholder farmers to turn their subsistence farms into profitable businesses. To boost this endeavour, the Foundation convenes the African Food System Initiative, a network whose members are deeply involved in Africa’s food sector. It assists smallholder farmers to increase productivity, enter the value chain, and produce commercial surpluses. The Initiative is composed of leading African and multinational corporations, philanthropic organisations, civil society institutions, and global food agencies with expertise and experience in agriculture, food security, and nutrition.

The African Food Systems Initiative in Action
At country level, the Initiative aims to:
  • enable commercially viable and sustainable smallholder farmers, especially those producing staple crops and nutritious foods, to participate in markets and value chains.
  • persuade larger companies and food agencies to source more of their supplies from smallholders.
  • provide opportunities for women, young smallholders and agro-entrepreneurs.
  • increase intra-African trade in agricultural commodities and improve regional integration.
  • strengthen the ability of smallholders to manage climate-related risks and shocks while improving the natural resource base.
The Importance of the Smallholder Farmer
Empowered, smallholder farmers can lift their communities out of poverty and help make Africa the world’s breadbasket. For that they need easier access to markets, credit and insurance, and access to climate-smart inputs and modern technologies. By developing partnerships with smallholder farmers, governments and the private sector can fill many critical gaps along the entire value chain. Where the climate changes, only farmers who have the resources to adapt will be able to overcome the challenges and preserve their livelihoods. Smallholder farmers are the key to unlocking Africa’s agricultural potential.

At a Glance
For all the progress made in recent years, it is difficult to understand why Africa, which has the world’s largest reserves of uncultivated arable land, continues to suffer from under- and malnutrition and spend billions every year on importing food. The Kofi Annan Foundation convened the African Food System Initiative to end this anomaly. The objective is to create an environment more conducive for smallholder farmers, enabling them to transform their ventures into successful businesses and lift themselves and their communities out of poverty. We mobilise companies, political leaders and civil society to advance food and nutrition security in African and beyond. Placing the smallholder farmer at the centre of our efforts, we work to unlock Africa’s agricultural potential.