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.

5 October 2012

The missing middle of African agriculture

A good article: Spotlight on African Agriculture by Lion’s Head Global Partners which goes beyond the often sterile debate of mega farms versus smallholders.

The article focuses on the “missing middle” – i.e. medium sized farming businesses of a few hundred hectares, which are starved of capital. Those farms can be the engine of growth for primary agriculture helping address food security and stimulating job creation throughout the agricultural value chain.

The authors, who have first-hand experience of investing in a seed potato farm in Tanzania, wonder why development finance institutions (DFIs) are not doing more in the sector:

“Yet so many DFIs find this sector too risky. . . A DFI setting out to promote African agriculture should find the blended return between financial and development payback very compelling. If DFIs don’t give extra weight to development outcomes, then they are no different than other institutional investors.”

Exactly right.