By Patrick Soko
The food and agriculture Organization has observed that in response to continuing growth in food and feed demand, population growth, rising incomes and urbanization for agricultural products agriculture and agribusinesses should be at the top agenda for Africa.
FAO Assistant Country Representative Geoffrey Chomba says the Agricultural sector can play a critical role in jump-starting the Continent’s economic transformation through the development of agro-based industries that help boost economic growth AND reduce poverty.
Mr Chomba adds that it offers nutritious food and the much-needed jobs and incomes, especially for the 11 million young people who will enter the job market each year.
“The strategic importance of Agriculture and agribusiness development in contributing to job creation and broad based economic development on the African continent is well recognized. Over 60 percent of sub-Saharan Africa’s population is still heavily reliant on agriculture for income and employment, primarily in small scale farming,” he said.
He says effective cooperation between the public and private sectors and the forging of public-private partnerships are key in promoting joined-up thinking that ensures policy and realistic unity.
He said this during the ongoing Multi-stakeholder dialogue to improve the design, implementation and impact of private Partnerships in Zambia’s Agricultural Sector in Lusaka this morning.
Public-Private Partnerships or Public-Private-Producer Partnerships, which are innovative partnerships that bring together producers, agribusiness, government and civil society actors. They are increasingly being promoted as a mechanism for pooling much-needed financing while mitigating some of the risks of doing business in the agriculture sector.
They are also importing in fostering a territorial approach as a means to attract transformative investments in agribusiness and coordinate cross-sectoral objectives. Particular attention is paid to agro-industrial parks and agro-based clusters, economic corridors, and Special Economic Zones including encouraging small and medium enterprise development, entrepreneurship, agribusiness start-ups and innovation through inclusive business models and agribusiness incubators.
Institutional procurement programmes, by which governments award public tenders not only to respond to the state’s procurement needs but also to simultaneously address social, environmental or economic concerns.
Mark Kofi Fynn is CAADP Advisor Agribusiness, at the African Union Commission) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture Chief Agriculture Economist Christopher Mbewe notes that although the country has established various policies to facilitate the participation of the private sector not much has been achieved.
Agribusiness and Agro-industry development is important in ensuring the development of sustainable and resilient food systems and to underpin sustainable poverty eradication at scale on the African content. Agribusiness and agribusiness development will be key in the achievement of Suitable Development Goals including SDG 1 (Poverty eradication), SDG 2 (Hunger, Malnutrition and sustainable Agriculture), SDG 8 (Decent work and economic growth), SDG 9 (infrastructure industrialization and innovation) and SDG 12 (sustainable production and consumption)