During the third international foodFirst conference, which this year focused on how to team up with African “agripreneurs”, FAO director-general José Graziano da Silva shared how agribusiness in Africa is poised to play a major role socio and economic development, but without policies and partnerships that enable smallholder farmers – including subsistence farmers and pastoralists – to participate in and benefit from the growth, that opportunity will turn into risk.
Noting that African agribusinesses are expected to create a $1tn market by 2030, Graziano da Silva hailed the opportunities but emphasised the risks such rapid growth pose, especially if large-scale food processors and retailers manage to dominate the process.
While poor rural family farmers rarely do not participate in the agri-food value chain, they play a fundamental role in local markets and in mitigating food insecurity in areas where it tends already to be high. “These people should be taken into account when we talk about creating conditions for agricultural entrepreneurs to grow and thrive in Africa. Effectively achieving that is particularly challenging in Africa because smallholders there tend not to be organised into cooperatives or other forms of association that have helped their peers elsewhere integrate into modern agri-food chains. Read more