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.

6 October 2011

CDC announces $20m investment in Silverlands African ag fund

The UK's development finance institution, the CDC Group, has committed $20m to the Silverlands Fund to support African agriculture businesses. It follows investments made by other public agencies including the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) of the United States ($100m) and Finnfund.

Silverlands is aiming to raise a total of $300m which it plans to invest in "up to 15 agribusinesses across the main fertile growing areas of Central and Southern Africa" according to a CDC press releaseThe fund will largely invest in primary agriculture by targeting farms producing crops such as grains, soya, fruits, vegetables, sugar, tea, and coffee.

How many $20m plus "investment-ready" deals are there in African agriculture? From AgDevCo's perspective in countries like Ghana, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia, such opportunities are few and far between. There are even fewer which incorporate smallholder farmers in a meaningful way.

More investment for African agriculture is a good thing especially when it comes with strong committments to social responsibility. CDC's move back into agriculture should be welcomed. But it remains to be seen how quickly the investment finds its way down into farming businesses on the ground.