The Opportunities for African Agriculture – Robynne Anderson

Africa is a place that is rich in culture and beauty and immense in geographical scope and diversity. It also represents some huge potential in terms of agricultural production. Africa has a very large and diverse land base. The challenges facing the development of that land base need to be addressed and overcome in order for it to reach its full potential.

Africa reaching its full potential may be a long time coming, but as the world population grows, the need for increased agricultural production in places like Africa is essential.
The challenges farmers in Africa face are as diverse as the continent itself. Politics, religion and cultural differences can have as much of an effect on efficient production as climate, equipment, inputs and practices. Africa needs help on the inside and from the outside in order to feed itself, and then the world. It is not an impossible task. The farmers there are ready and willing both to work and to learn.

Robynne Anderson is the founder of Emerging Ag Inc. a strategy solutions business. She has travelled to Malawi and Zambia recently. I talked to her about the current state of agriculture in Africa, and what is needed to move ahead to reach its full potential for agricultural production.  As Robynne mentions the opportunities for the African people are very possible of reaching but some of the biggest challenges are lack of infrastructure and women’s rights.

If you cannot see the embedded video below click here.

 

Shaun Haney

Shaun grew up on a family seed farm in Southern Alberta. Haney Farms produces, conditions and retails wheat, barley, canola and corn seed. Shaun Haney is the founder of RealAgriculture.com. @shaunhaney

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3 Comments

George Lubberts

Thanks for the video but, based on my experience, robynne missed the most important issue, that of credit; many developing world farmers are forced to pay 40 to 60% interest per crop (not per annum). And they most often borrow 100% of their input costs. Many of these farmers produce 2 crops per year so you can imagine the horrendous impact these types of interest rates have on their economic results. One of the main reasons the interest rates are so high is because of the policies of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Most of these developing countries owe huge amounts to the World Bank and are forced to generate money to pay these loans and interest. Imagine farmers in North America having to pay these exorbitant rates, we thought it was difficult in the 80s when interest rates were in the high teens and low 20s, that is 1/2 to 1/3 of what these subsistence growers are paying.

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William

I found Robynne’s interview most informative. This is a great way to reach an audience of tens of thousands. Every African country has lots of constraints to smallholder agriculture development, some are so daunting. Therefore am pleased to learn that Malawi has jumped into the lead in something which they need so badly. I hope that the inroads there can be replicated elsewhere. It has been a long time coming.

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Robynne

There is no question that credit is an issue – userous rates and often a complete lack of credit. Micro-credit programs are offering some solutions and there are some important groups working in this sphere. A related issue are programs to set up banking for smallholder farmers. It is a great reminder that no single solution works. You need all of them.

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