Center for Finance, Agribusiness and Value Chain Development (CEFAD)
Agriculture remains Africa’s heartbeat in particular in sub-Saharan Africa where it contributes to over 60% of the total employment directly and indirectly. There is optimism in the potential of the continent’s agriculture sector to immensely contribute to economic liberation with the continent’s food and beverage markets projected to reach $1 trillion by 2030 (just a single decade from now). However, this can only be possible if the numerous smallholder farmers are in position to expand their access to more capital, electricity, better technology and irrigated land to grow high-value nutritious foods. For the several smallholder farmers as well as transitioning to agripreneurship is critical as such the need for agribusiness development is undeniable.
The transformation of subsistence agriculture and embarking on an agribusiness development path will drive economic growth, while providing increased employment opportunities and enhanced livelihoods for people living in poverty. In addition to stimulating economic growth, an agribusiness development path can contribute substantially to poverty reduction and improved social outcomes, forming part of a socially-inclusive development strategy. Taking this path, requires that agribusiness development needs to be context-specific, by addressing issues of supply and demand.
There is need for addressing a skills shortage among agribusiness men, women and youth; they need training to increase the value of products, develop businesses and build the capacity to adapt with change. Networks are needed to link farmers to new technical ideas and markets and better organise the markets and their negotiating power. One avenue for addressing this is strengthening linkages with industry through agro-processing and value addition to agricultural products, as well as improved post-harvest operations, storage, branding, distribution and logistics as well as meeting quality and safety regulations. Through this, agribusiness investment will help to scale up agricultural value chains. Well-developed and functional agricultural value chains offer a range of employment opportunities especially in out of farm operations.
These aspirations require an innovative and integrative financial system thus, financial inclusion becomes a critical facet in the agribusiness and value chain development. Accordingly, this centre focuses on innovating within means financial products and services that enhance smallholder farmers transactions, payments, savings, credit and insurance undertakings whilst championing commodity based value chain and agribusiness development. Some of the focus actions include:
- Strengthen youth skills and capacity development in practical and innovative agricultural enterprise and agri-business development in Africa through a suit of actions including among others; expansion of novel approaches to youth in agribusiness empowerment, mentorship support in enterprise development.
- Strengthen agribusiness development through among other actions; agribusiness incubation and accelerator facilities, support innovations, technologies and/or ventures for commercialization, pilot test agribusiness innovations and exposition youth to competitive agribusiness.
- Strengthen youth financial inclusion through exploring innovative financing mechanisms to support youth enterprise and agribusiness development.
- Build a networked and engaged youth agribusiness movement for change agents making and demand articulation and greater youth networking to further shape attitudes around youth participation in agriculture and agribusiness.
- Strengthen equity through specific target on addressing the role of women in agribusiness and mainstream agribusiness skills development in TVET/ATVET institutions in Africa.
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