Making Africa Food Secure

Stakeholders from the public and private sectors converge in Kenya to brainstorm on how to make Africa a giant grain producer

|  By Vincent Nzemeke  |  Oct. 14, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

More than 250 business executives from various African countries have converged at the Sarova-Whitesands Hotel in Mombasa, Kenya, for this year’s edition of the African grain trade summit. The summit held with the theme ‘Africa: The Emerging Frontier for Global Investments in Grain Trade,’ was the 5th in the series. It was hosted by the East African Grain Council, EAGC, and drew participants from public and private sectors including farmers, traders, millers, non-governmental organisations, development partners, financial institutions, regional bilateral institutions and policy makers.

The summit turned out to be timely as the global focus shifts to Africa’s potentials to feed itself and the world. Participants at the summit discussed key issues affecting the Africa’s grain sector and proffered suggestions on how to improve the business. Africa with an estimated population of 1 billion people and an area of 30.2 million km, is home to seven of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies with a projected economic growth rate of six percent.  Additionally, the continent has a youthful population, a rich resource base, rising incomes and a steadily growing private sector. All these factors make for a healthy and attractive investment environment.

Mbaabu
Mbaabu

Delegates at the summit also advocated for a predictable agricultural trade policy and a price regime which facilitates public private partnerships and stimulates increased investments along the grain value chain. They also explored opportunities for innovation and technology adoption to address constraints and increase agricultural investments in Africa as a means of optimizing intra-Africa market access by dismantling barriers to trade. Delegates also discussed how to scale up agribusiness financing for Africa’s grain trade through Structured Trading Systems. Gerald Masila, EAGC’s executive director said: “the summit set the stage and opened doors through establishing essential linkages as well as new and increased investments in grain trade in Africa.”

On her part, Anne Mbaabu, director of Alliance for Green Revolution in Agriculture, AGRA’ market access programme said, the body was glad to be associated with the summit. “AGRA is happy to be associated with the Africa Grain Summit as it will help in charting the way forward on resolving the issue on postharvest grain losses which are currently at 40 percent in sub-Saharan Africa.  By stemming these losses we can help to increase farmers’ incomes.” During the summit, the first ever structured trading systems handbook was also launched. The book is envisioned to be a game-changing tool in grain trade in Africa and beyond.

Aside from AGRA, this year’s summit was supported by the Swedish International Development Agency, SIDA, the United States Agency for International Development, USAID, the Agribusiness Initiative Trust, ABI, the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa, ASARECA and many others.

Contact Us