Unlocking the wealth of Africa’s agriculture: Partnership for commercial projects on offer

“We firmly believe that the economic development and prospering of the African continent, also as economic and trading bloc, is inextricably linked to its ability to unlock the economic potential and value of its rich agricultural resources, and that commercial farming and agribusiness is essential for this to happen.

“The agribusiness sector can and should be a major driver of economic development and job creation on the continent. The lack of commercial projects and commercial agribusiness value chains and the associated inclusive models for development of this sector remains one of the biggest constraints in this regard.”

So says Hennie van der Merwe, CEO of the Agribusiness Development Corporation (ADC), a Cape Town based firm specialising in agribusiness project identification, development, facilitation and management across the African continent.

About the ADC

The ADC’s vision is to see the development and growth of the agribusiness sector in Africa to become a major driver of economic development, job creation and empowerment on the continent. Its core competence is its knowledge and understanding of the principles and requirements of commercial agribusiness projects in the African environment and ability to mobilise skilled professionals and other role players that can add value, enhance profitability and ensure sustainability of interventions. It is currently working with over 60 product and service providers – from aquaculture firms and irrigation system manufactures to greenhouse suppliers and cold storage specialists – to develop agribusiness and rural development solutions for Africa.

For example, when developing a dairy project, the ADC, together with its network of companies, would put in place all the elements of the value chain from the development of the business plan to the processing and marketing arrangements. This could also include the supply of the heifers/cows/semen, support/advise from dairy production, nutrition and health specialists to ensure that the cows perform at their optimal levels; appropriate dairy parlour design and equipment supply and installation, value-adding opportunity evaluation and product development support, project management and training/mentorship as applicable. Their involvement would also support and ensure market linkage and partnership development to enable the complete dairy value chain to operate successfully and sustainably.

The ADC has been involved with numerous agribusiness projects across the continent and has experience in a number of countries, including Nigeria, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Angola and Mauritius, to name a few.

Development Strategy & Benefits

An essential element of the ADC business development strategy is to reach, involve and capacitate local business people to get involved in the commercial agribusiness value chain as profitable and rewarding business activity.

Traditionally African countries and their investment promotion agencies have focused on foreign investors as primary source of investment in commercial agribusiness, whereas the ADC believes that there is substantial indigenous capacity and funds available from local business that can be mobilised as investors, developers, partners and entrepreneurs in the agribusiness sector and value chains.

Additionally the empowerment of agri-entrepreneurs all over Africa to start and expand agribusiness related enterprises, based on exposure of this sector to new and innovative business ideas, technology and partnerships/linkages present a great challenge.

The down-stream economic benefits of activated, empowered and expanded commercial value chains across the continent, supported by commercial farming ventures producing the required raw materials for value-adding/processing, trading/exporting and retailing is immense. Given the fact that agriculture production (and often some level of beneficiation as well) takes place in the rural areas of Africa, it is evident that the job creation and economic empowerment outcome of this broader initiative would be very substantial.

The ADC Offer

The ADC calls on the entrepreneurs and business people of Africa to partner with it to develop profitable and sustainable commercial farming and related agribusiness projects across the continent.

“We will bring the commercial farming know-how and experience to develop commercial crop & animal production, processing and marketing projects along the entire agribusiness value chain. This can be done for both green and brown field developments from business plan stage, through mobilisation of finance and market linkage, to project implementation and management.

The world is looking eagerly at Africa as the continent with the largest undeveloped arable land resource in the world. The call therefore goes out loud and clear to Africa’s business sector to wake up to the opportunities that the agribusiness sector has to offer and not to wait for countries and companies from elsewhere to walk away with the spoils.

The time has never been so opportune for Africa’s business men and women to benefit from the myriad of potentially lucrative business opportunities in the agribusiness sector.

The time is now!

For more information, contact the ADC at [email protected]