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.

25 March 2010

S.Africa firms launch $408 mln farmland fund

Two South African asset management firms launched a 3 billion rand farmland investment fund on Wednesday that is expected to help boost agricultural development in Africa's biggest economy.

The Futuregrowth Agri-Fund, launched by Old Mutual South Africa unit Futuregrowth Asset Management and UFF Asset Management, plans to tap institutional investors for the cash, which will be invested in farms in South Africa. Reuters link.

18 March 2010

Global Food Security Depends on Modern Agriculture

Research presented by a diverse group of experts in agriculture, economics, conservation and food security detailed how technological advancements employed on farms and across the food chain have provided an abundant, safe, affordable food supply while fostering economic development. Presswire link

17 March 2010

Agricultural growth and poverty reduction in Africa: The case for patient

AgDevCo publishes a briefing report "Agricultural growth and poverty reduction in Africa: The case for patient capital". The report argues that patient capital is the most effective means of kick-starting sustainable commercial agriculture in Africa and will deliver major benefits for smallholder farmers. Link.

14 March 2010

African agriculture in 50 years

A powerful article by Professor Paul Collier and Stefan Dercon of Oxford University challenges the traditional approach by governments, donor agencies and charities which focuses exclusively on supporting increased production by smallholder farmers. To put Africa on a path to achieving a large and sustinable reduction in poverty, they argue, the agenda for agricultural growth should surely be to introduce commercial agriculture on a competitive basis. Link to full article here.

11 March 2010

UN: ‘Africa Spends $33bn on Food Imports Yearly

The Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Mr. Abdoulie Janneh yesterday said food imports from the developed world into the African continent annually gulps $33 billion. This, he said, is besides the $3bn which comes in the form of aid from international donor agencies. He said the continent has had to resort to food import to bridge the gap between domestic food supply and demand which is mainly fueled by urban demand for processed food.

“Overall, the performance of the food and agriculture system of the continent has been far below its potential and far short from expectation. Despite, proven comparative advantage, Africa relies heavily and increasingly on food imports, standing now at about $33billion,” Janneh said at the three Day High Level Conference on the Development of Africa Agrobusiness and Agro-industries Development Initiative in Nigeria. This Day article.