In this issue
The role of data in sustainable farming systems
John Corbett from agricultural intelligence company, aWhere, explains the importance of ensuring that all stakeholders in agricultural value chains are kept informed with up-to-date farming and weather data.
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.
by Friday Phiri
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.
Agriculture and agribusiness remain key
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.
Secondary towns – hives of activity and growth
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.
Jamaica and St Lucia Innovative insurance for minimising climate risk
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.
Financing agribusiness for sustainable development
by Sophie Reeve
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.
Indian Ocean fisherfolk come together
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.
Caribbean condiment exports heat up
From sweet preserves to spicy sauces, regional condiment agro-processers are investing in certification and standardisation in order to sustainably enter the highly developed international ethnic and gourmet export markets.
Improved malt for Ethiopia’s beer industry
Ethiopian researchers are collaborating with local breweries to produce improved barley varieties, reduce malt imports, and increase farmers’ incomes.
Reducing wastage to provide niche fish products
by James Karuga
Kati Farms, a fish processing enterprise in Kampala, Uganda, produces a range of value-added niche products, including its well-known fish sausage, using farmed tilapia and catfish sourced from over 1,000 fish farmers. Since 2015, Kati Farms has also been exporting its innovative products across the continent.
Innovation for food safety
by James Karuga
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.
Fast-cooking yam couscous
Benin-based food company, Fenou Foods, has invented Wassa-Wassa Tchigan – a tasty, nutritious, pre-cooked, dried yam couscous that has slashed preparation time from half a day to just 15 minutes.
Nutritional wheat flour substitute
Increasing demand for nutritionally beneficial bread made with orange-fleshed sweet potato (OFSP) puree is helping to combat vitamin A deficiency in Africa, whilst growing a profitable market for bakers and OFSP farmers.
Big data and climate insurance
Increasingly accessible agricultural data is facilitating the scaling out of index-based insurance schemes and helping farmers build resilience and adapt to climate change.
A pathway towards agricultural adaptation and resilience
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.
EcoFarmer: bundling information and financial services
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.
Getting a grip on the environment
In Niger, daily access to reliable climate information, by using solar mobile telephones, radios and rain gauges, is allowing semi-nomadic populations to make better use of natural resources.
Boosting farmers’ resilience in Malawi
The cultivation of low-cost vegetable gardens is helping Malawian households to diversify their diets, reduce reliance on maize and improve their resilience to the changing climate whilst also making savings in time and money.
Professional management for agricultural cooperatives
Side-selling – when individuals opt for short-term benefits at the expense of long-term collective goals – is a major obstacle to the efficient performance of agricultural cooperatives in Africa. An initiative led by CTA and partners is seeking to address the challenge by improving cooperative governance, aiming to increase farmers’ revenues and the sustainability of rural communities.
A sea change for local fisheries in Benin
Benin-based Awa Fish is one of the leading frozen seafood firms, a position it has established by working closely with its suppliers – small-scale fishermen. But like many companies, it finds it hard to raise funds and faces recurring power cuts.