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Thursday, September 12, 2013

AGRF decries acute financial gap in African agriculture

Anthony Nwakaegh/NaijaAgroNet

The African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) has decried what it described as acute financial gap that exists in the development of Africa’s agriculture.

NaijaAgroNet gathered the Forum, which saw over 200 delegates from across Africa and internationally in attendant, focused on the critical role to be played by public-private- partnerships (PPP) and business models in the development of Africa’s agriculture, noted that

the global gap in finance for agriculture stands at about $450 billion, and is more acute on the continent of Africa than anywhere else.

NaijaAgroNet also gathered that evidence abound that only 10 per cent of African smallholder farmers have access to the financing they need to expand their production and raise their income.

According to the convenor of the AGRF, Irungu Houghton “Throughout the African continent, we are witnessing successful partnerships between the private and public sectors and smallholder farmers. But these partnerships are still too rare. We will only be able to transform Africa’s agriculture, and alleviate food insecurity and poverty, if smallholders have the funds to boost their crop yields and expand their business.”

Also speaking at the Forum, the Chief Executive Officer, National Association of Smallholder Farmers of Malawi, Dyborn Chibonga, said “Some African governments have gone some way towards addressing affordability and accessibility of production inputs, but challenges still persist. Each and every year smallholder farmers are pulled into a downward spiral of taking out high-interest loans in order to buy farming inputs for the following season. Without access to credit, smallholders cannot raise productivity.”
The President, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), a partner in the AGRF, Jane Karuku, said “2014 is a critical year for agriculture, when African governments will be setting investment targets and plans to develop agriculture over the coming decade. The African Union has recognised this crucial moment and designated 2014 as the Year for Food Security and Agriculture. We are delighted to announce that next year’s AGRF will be co-hosted with the African Union in Addis Ababa in September 2014.”

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