Whether for profit or social motives - and often both - an increasing number of investors are targeting opportunities in African agriculture. At the same time innovative approaches for deploying aid to support farming businesses linked to smallholders are emerging. This blog provides a snapshot of who is doing what, where and how.

31 October 2009

Guidelines could help improve farmland deals

A draft of the first-ever international code of conduct for farmland deals should be ready by the end of the year, the head of the United Nations' International Fund for Agricultural Development said. Reuters link.

23 October 2009

Congo Farmland Deal 10 Million Hectares

Agri SA has welcomed the signing of a farmland deal between South Africa and the Republic of the Congo. SABC reported AgriSA deputy president Theo de Jager as saying on Wednesday that the deal would give South African farmers access to up to 10 million hectares of land in the Congo. This would allow South African farmers to lease land for maize, soy beans, poultry, dairy cattle and other produce. News24 link

20 October 2009

Obama Administration Commits to Agricultural Aid

The Obama administration says it will spend $3.5 billion over the next three years to help developing-world farmers produce more food and get their products to market. News.com link

15 October 2009

Tanzania Suspends Biofuels Investments

Reacting to mounting pressure from farmers and environmental groups citing concerns over food shortages, the Tanzanian government has reportedly suspended all biofuel investments in the country and halted land allocations for biofuel development. New York Times link

14 October 2009

Global hunger worsening, warns UN

Targets to cut the number of hungry people in the world will not be met without greater international effort, UN food agencies have warned. BBC News article

13 October 2009

The Director General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Jacques Diouf, on Monday deplored the low use of irrigation for agricultural purposes in Africa, saying this had made agriculture vulnerable to the vagaries of the climate.

"Only seven per cent of arable lands throughout Africa and four per cent in sub-Saharan Africa benefit from irrigation, against 38 per cent in Asia despite the a bundance of natural water resources across the continent," the Director General of the UN agency told experts participating in a high-level forum in Rome, Italy, on the possibility of feeding the world in 2050.
Afrique en Ligne article

11 October 2009

Gulf Arab states to launch $2 bln agriculture fund

Gulf Arab states will pour $2 billion into a new agricultural fund in coming months to secure food supplies by buying stakes in existing agricultural firms, an executive involved in the fund's creation said on Sunday. Reuters article

9 October 2009

Agriculture needs billions of dollars by 2050: UN agency

Developing countries need investments of 83 billion dollars a year if there is to be enough food to feed the world's expected 9.1 billion people by 2050, the UN food agency said Thursday.

The report said that most of this investment, in both primary agriculture and downstream services, "will come from private investors, including farmers purchasing implements and machinery and businesses investing in processing facilities". But public funds would also be needed to achieve a better functioning of the agricultural system and food security.

"Priority areas for such public investments include: 1) agricultural research and development; 2) large-scale infrastructure such as roads, ports and power, and agricultural institutions and extension services; and 3) education, particularly of women, sanitation, clean water supply and healthcare." AFP article

7 October 2009

Uganda Trees First in Africa to Count as CO2 Emissions Reductions

The Ugandan project is one of only eight reforestation projects worldwide that have been approved to date to count towards emissions reductions under the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism. Environment News Service link.

2 October 2009

Enterprise contest for African agriculture goes into third round

The third and latest round of the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF), which closed in mid-July, has attracted more than 250 applications for the $7m-9m to be disbursed in the form of grants and interest-free loans to projects in Africa’s agricultural and rural sectors. Business Day link.