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By Bernard Wainaina
CEO,Profarms Consultants®

As the world’s poorest region, urgent measures are needed to help translate Africa’s agricultural
resources into wealth, particularly by adding value to agricultural activities in order to help transform the lives of people in the continent.

For instance, Africa is endowed with
enormous human and natural resources, yet it continues to struggle with poverty and inability to
translate its agricultural endowment to sustainable wealth.

As a result, people on the continent live in hunger, while unemployment continues to rise.

This is underpinned by issues of corruption, poor governance in terms of agricultural policies and climate change.

Through Sustainable Agri-business activities, farmers in the region, including key public and private sector actors as well as other key players in the agri-business value chain, are able to work together to identify opportunities that will help scale- up agricultural activities in the region.

Despite the fact that agri-business in Africa is still in its infancy a lot needs to be done to leverage from the opportunities it provides.

With over 60% of the region’s labour-force coming from agricultural activities, there is need to scale-up
their outputs which currently does not sustain food production, provide enough jobs or eradicate poverty in the region.

This can be achieved by developing strategies that will address the agricultural problems on the continent such as:

a. lack of innovation and infrastructure to support farming and agriculture;

b. lack of clear understanding of the role of commercial agriculture as a tool to fostering socio-economic
growth in Africa;

c. lack of added value to agricultural products through viable manufacturing and processing activities; lack of finance and investment;

d. over-reliance on mining activities which offer very few job opportunities and entrepreneurship skills to our youth

e. lack of sustainable developmental strategies that will enable farmers harness the full potential of agri-
business on the continent.

Towards addressing some of these challenges, Profarms Consultants® aims to:

»promote scalability of sustainable agri-business programmes in Africa;

»facilitate training and mentorship programme for stakeholders,with bias to the youth of Africa;

»facilitate partnerships and collaboration regarding related communities of practice;

»produce new knowledge materials e.g. film documentaries; and
establish and build momentum around social media campaigns(like putting a lot of relevant information on agribusiness opportunities in Facebook pages like this one that you are reading now).

Exactly what is meant by Sustainable Agribusiness?

Agri-business is a generic term for the various businesses involved in the food production chain,including farming (both subsistence and
mechanized farming), seed supply, manure, fertilizers(organic) and agri-chemicals(biodegradable inputs in our case), farm machinery,
distribution, wholesale and retail sales, processing, research and development, marketing
and financing of the agro-allied industry.

Agri-business also includes a range of activities and disciplines encompassed by modern food production, and denotes the convergence between, among other things, natural resource management, tourism and hospitality,innovation, mechanization, manufacturing and
processing activities to add value to raw materials or cash products as well as trade and distribution.

Agri-business involves the whole value chain of the agro-allied industry covering a large range of
stakeholders including farmers, co-operatives, regulators, government agencies, companies (both private and public entities), business associations,multi-national corporations, banks, multilateral
institutions, civil society, and the academic body.

Sustainable agribusiness on the other hand considers the social, cultural, economic and environmental
implications of agricultural production and adapts practical and ethical approaches towards maximizing the business aspect of agricultural production.

It ensures that agricultural production is carried out in a sustainable way, providing jobs and food security.

It also ensures that agricultural production is conducted responsibly across the agro-allied business chain, while mainstreaming good
environmental best practices.

While agriculture remains central to food security in Africa, and indeed globally; there is need for farmers, the public and private sector to look beyond food production, but rather,
explore sustainable ways through which agricultural activities can support the long-term growth and
competiveness of Africa.

Within the African context, there are opportunities for sustained growth and socio-economic development through sustainable Agri-business
practices.

Part of Africa’s agricultural woes also stems from imbalanced trade issues which provide a big challenge for local farmers in terms of the prices of
commodities.

The problem with the imbalance of
trade is that agricultural products from local farmers in Africa are often underpriced by international
buyers, thus providing low return on investment for farmers.

At the same time, in the international arena,such products are worth a lot more, leading to an unfair balance of trade for the development of
agricultural trade in Africa.

Profarms Consultants® is partnering with the African Institute of Corporate Citizenship (AICC) in
promoting sustainable agri-business in Africa as a major leverage for attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) regarding poverty reduction.

Profarms Consultants® hopes that some day in the near future,agribusiness will the career of choice for our youth who will propel Africa to the prosperity and dignity of its people through poverty eradication and hunger.

We bank on our youth to take Africa through the next level of ‘Africa Rising’!

“The African Story as told by Africans”.©African News Digest®

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