In this issue
Parminder Vir OBE: “Agriculture presents extraordinary opportunities for young African entrepreneurs”
After a distinguished 30-year career as an award winning film and television producer and private equity investor in the industry, Parminder Vir accepted Tony Elumelu’s invitation to join the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF). As CEO, among other projects, she has worked to launch the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme.
Smallholder farmers are receiving tailored training and financial advice from a social enterprise that guarantees them a good market price for their seed. Expanding to work with over 5,000 small-scale farmers, the company is training a cohort of extension workers to help farmers profit from the international seed industry.
Responsible investments in the rural and agricultural economy, value chains and integrated markets play a crucial role in fostering economic growth, job creation and development in African countries. These critical issues have been the subject of recent meetings in Rome and will form a key component of the forthcoming EU-Africa summit to be held in November 2017 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
Recognition of the importance and vitality of secondary towns is very recent. These dynamic commercial hubs provide rural areas with markets and opportunities for young people, whilst urbanisation and stronger rural-urban linkages are offering new and value added markets for farmers and entrepreneurs in fresh and processed foods.
Two insurance products offered by the project, Climate Risk Adaptation and Insurance in the Caribbean, are creating space for financial certainty in an increasingly unpredictable climate.
Enterprise challenge funds in Africa are matching grant funding with agribusinesses that have the potential to grow and create impact for rural populations. By mitigating against market risk, challenge funds are boosting the development of investable and sustainable businesses.
Stakeholders in the Indian Ocean fisheries sector are collaborating to promote the sustainable management of marine resources and improve livelihoods for artisanal fishermen, facilitating their access to international markets and value adding processing technology.
A low-cost, low-tech innovation measuring food dryness is preventing the development of mould in stored crops in Tanzania, and improving the quality and nutritional value of smallholder produce. In Cameroon, moisture-testing machines are enabling cocoa farmers to demand higher prices for their beans at the market.
Closing the gap in agricultural data available to smallholder farmers and financial institutions in developing countries is essential for the agricultural sector to build resilience and adapt to climate change. Without accurate farming and weather data, smallholder farmers struggle to prepare for unpredictable climate events and tend to prioritise managing risk over maximising revenues.
Zimbabwe’s mobile network, Econet Wireless, is providing farmers with micro-insurance to cover crops and inputs against damage due to poor weather. The EcoFarmer subscription platform offers farmers a package of mobile phone delivered services to increase their productivity and mitigate risk.
The small-scale fisheries sector in the Caribbean plays a vital role in the region’s food security but is overshadowed by marine industries including shipping, tourism, and oil and gas extraction. An EU-funded initiative is providing a stronger voice to fisherfolk to advocate their needs.
In Tanzania, sesame farmers are receiving training in the agronomic and business skills they need to sell better quality produce at a higher price. Mobile phones are also being used as learning tools to deliver timely and convenient information to smallholders.