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.

15 September 2011

AgDevCo and Small Foundation agree strategic collaboration to reduce poverty in rural Africa

AgDevCo has been awarded a grant of Euro 2.5 million by Small Foundation to promote socially responsible investment in the African agriculture sector. The funding will help AgDevCo expand its capacity to create a portfolio of investments in early-stage agricultural enterprises in Africa, with the aim of relieving rural poverty and promoting economic growth.

The private sector is the engine of long-term, sustainable development in Africa”, said Dr. Keith Palmer, AgDevCo’s Chairman. “AgDevCo believes that profitable agriculture with strong links to markets is the best route out of poverty for the majority of Africa’s rural poor. This grant from Small Foundation will enable us to reach many more African farmers”.

To date AgDevCo has raised more than Euro 15 million to invest in African agriculture. It is rolling out pioneering investments in farming and agri-processing businesses in Mozambique, Tanzania, Ghana and Zambia. “Our distinctive approach focuses on creation of profitable farm enterprises which also generate substantial benefits for smallholder farmers and local communities” said Chris Isaac, who heads AgDevCo’s office in Mozambique.

Tim Brosnan, Chairman of Small Foundation said “AgDevCo has a highly innovative approach to building socially responsible farming businesses at scale. We look forward to working with them to achieve our mutual goal of sharply reducing poverty in rural Africa.”

About AgDevCo
AgDevCo’s mission is to relieve poverty directly and indirectly by raising agricultural productivity and incomes for the benefit of rural communities as a whole in low and low-middle income developing countries. It aims to develop commercially viable agriculture and agribusiness ventures along entire value chains (including farm operations, infrastructure leasing businesses, storage and processing) and attract private sector capital to invest in them. It aims to ensure that substantial benefits accrue to the local communities including directly raising productivity and incomes of smallholder farmers. By taking a hands-on project development role and investing in early-stage agribusinesses, AgDevCo helps remove barriers to entry by private investors and structures ventures to achieve permanent benefits for smallholder farmers. AgDevCo’s goal is to demonstrate a scalable and sustainable approach to elimination of rural poverty by leveraging-in significant amounts of private capital in ways which generate transformational benefits for rural communities.

AgDevCo was established as a UK-headquartered not-for-profit-distribution company in 2009. Its funders including the UK government, the Norwegian Government, The Hewlett Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation.

About Small Foundation
The vision of Small Foundation is an Africa free from the threat of famine within one generation. Its mission is to help provide opportunities to food-insecure rural African families that enable them to gain economic independence through income generation. Its goal is to support scaling up processes for opening up access to knowledge, finance, technology and markets to food-insecure rural African families and communities. Small Foundation aims to do this by, inter alia, helping to encourage the emergence of business-based systems for spreading the opportunity-creating process.

Small Foundation (www.smallfoundation.ie) was incorporated in Ireland in 2007 as a company limited by guarantee and a registered charity.

Further details contact: Rosanne Whalley rwhalley@agdevco.com Tel: +44 (0)20 7841 2821