Transforming Africa’s agriculture with a pump

One way that can help Africa break out of its dependence on subsistence farming is through a simple water pump. In Tanzania, the agricultural sector accounts for nearly 80 percent of employment and 75 percent of rural household income, yet only 26.5 percent of GDP. Land for farming is readily available. However, effective tools for small-scale irrigation are not. The pumps enable small landholder farmers to switch from low value to high value crops and become less dependent on rain. Read more here.
Jonathan Kalan

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Where to now for the youth who led South Sudan’s struggle?

The youth of South Sudan played a major role in the independence struggle, bringing new technology and modern ideas to rally support for succession. Yet these same young people now face huge difficulties that are obstructing their participation in constructing their new country – lack of education and job opportunities among them. Maddy Halyard, an intern with Idasa’s States in Transition Observatory, warns this could threaten peaceful and sustainable development. Read more here.

Africa Governments Frustrated by Weak Farmer Credit Schemes

Though some African governments have invested significantly in agricultural credit schemes, weak oversight roles and interest rate distortions undermine their performance. This is because commercial banks are reluctant to effect borrower friendly terms demanded by governments due to internal management hurdles and limited sensitisation within the farming community. The high interest rates were mostly blamed on steep administrative costs incurred by participating banks that rendered the loans very risky in the market contrary to government expectations. Read more here.
Bernard Busuulwa

Private sector ‘key to food security’

In the first week of May, the World Economic Forum indicated businesses as part of the solution for global food security. Governments’ agricultural development initiatives would have limited success in increasing production to feed citizens without other stakeholders’ participation. The forum discussed a strategy, which was launched in Switzerland in January, to help provide long-term solutions based on a road map for stakeholders that outlines the contributions of the private sector. Thus, it is important to start encouraging governments to establish an enabling environment for small farmers to grow by providing them with training, support and financing so as to transform them into viable business units. Read more here.

Africa’s agriculture ‘needs reforms’

Africa’s agriculture remains one of the riskiest sectors for a financial institution to put money into. Despite employing over 60% of Africa’s population and with a number of drop down effects to the continent’s economy, agriculture in Africa still needs lots of reforms for financial institutions to start giving out loans to the sector. As was stressed during the 9th Africa Investment Forum in Dar es Salaam, the entire agricultural supply chain needs transformation, which encompasses transforming the perception of farming as an occupation to farming as business. It is important to improve the transport systems as well as markets to increase investment. Read more here.
Samuel Kamndaya

Jobs cow waiting to be milked

With only a quarter of Africa’s arable land (50% of global arable land) currently in use and 29% of the world’s youth by 2025, an agriculture and agri-business sector in full bloom is likely to result in even more transformational change. Young Africans do not want to be the farmers their grandparents were. Making the sector more attractive to the African youth – seven-to-ten million of whom join the labour force each year – must entail modernising agriculture, raising productivity, boosting incomes, and expanding links to export markets. Read more here.
Nigerian Compass