Agri entrepreneurs as a new type of innovators

Smallholders need to work the logic of markets. For that they need skills – and they do not come spontaneously. To make farming a business, farmers need specific services to help them in doing so: business services. And these services need to cater to a wide range of types of farmers.

The same holds true for other value chain actors such as local traders, warehouse managers, input suppliers and local processors: they also need business services to be able to cope with the dynamic environment they find themselves in.

After the European Agribusiness in Africa workshop (organised by the European Commission in April), the Platform for African-European partnership on Agricultural Research for Development (PAEPARD) collected interesting reference material focusing on agricultural entrepreneurs:

 PAEPARD video interviews

Agri-entrepreneurs as a new type of innovators
Interview with Andy Hall, Researcher in the area of Innovation Processes and agriculture. UNU-MERIT Maastricht. AISA workshop, Agricultural Innovation Systems in Africa, Nairobi, 29-31 May 2013. Andy answers following questions:

  • Are agri-entrepreneurs a new type of innovators?
  • What is an example of an agri-business service provider?
  • Which role can entrepreneurs play to put research into use?
  • Can entrepreneurs link the value chain to financial actors?
  • Was Research into Use (RIU) over-designed?
  • Why is engaging agricultural Small and Medium Enterprises (agri-SMEs) so challenging?
  • Are equity funds an opportunity to engage them?

Patient capital to support African agribusiness
Interview with Paul Frix, the Director ad interim of the Centre for the Development of Enterprise (CDE).

The collaboration between GIZ and BMGF to support African agribusiness
Interview with Albert Engel, Deputy Director General, German Agency for International.

La collaboration du ROPPA avec le prive et la recherche
Interview with Khalilou Sylla (Secrétaire Exécutif, ROPPA)

Some Agribusiness support services

Towards Sustainable Clusters in Agribusiness through learning in entrepreneurship
IFDC, the International Centre for development oriented Research in Agriculture (ICRA) and Base of the Pyramid Innovation Center (BoP Inc.) are promoting sustainable agricultural production and commodity chain development across Africa through the five-year (2012-2016) Toward Sustainable Clusters in Agribusiness through Learning in Entrepreneurship (2SCALE) project. Funded by the Netherlands’ Directorate-General for International Cooperation (DGIS), the project focuses on the development of competitive rural agricultural systems, viable agro-enterprises and the use of public-private partnerships (PPPs). See also: Recent IFDC agribusiness support projects

Promotion of Private Sector Development in Agriculture
This is a bilateral technical assistance programme jointly implemented by the German Agency for International Development (GIZ) on behalf of the Government of Germany and the Ministry of Agriculture on behalf of the Government of Kenya. PSDA closely collaborates with other agricultural sector Ministries, mainly with the Ministry of Livestock Development, Ministry of Fisheries Development and Ministry of Cooperative Development and Marketing.

ASNAPP, an NGO with a head for business
Community farming projects in Africa have a much greater chance of making a real difference to the lives of rural farmers when there is a strong private sector company providing a ready market for the produce

Some best practices

Matooke Agribusiness Incubator
The Afri Banana Products Limited, formerly Incubation and Diversification of Banana Products for Agribusiness (IDBPA), aims to upscale innovations and improve entrepreneurial skills in banana production-to-marketing value chains with emphasis on capacity building for increased production, development of SME’s, training in entrepreneurship and agribusiness at B.Sc. and M.Sc. levels, linking of research innovations to agribusiness, and marketing of banana and its value added products including disease-free seedlongs, fresh peeled and vacuum sealed bananas, vinegar, banana wine, enriched animal feeds, biogas, charcoal briquettes, biodegradable bags and textile fiber materials.

Training Beninese youth in agribusiness
The Songhai Center in Porto-Novo works towards reducing youth unemployment and underemployment by training young people in organic agriculture, food processing, and natural resource management.

An indigenous agribusines success: Shito, a traditional pepper sauce
African entrepreneurs have incredible potential to make African agriculture a dynamic, growth-generating sector that fills a growing market niche and engages the youth.

Resources on Agribusiness

Agricultural business development services
This book describes the two dominant approaches to providing services: (a) supply-driven (where the funder decides what services should be offered), (b) and market-driven (where more emphasis is put on market forces). It looks at how 12 business service providers from across Africa run their businesses.It describes the seven different “business models” that they pursue, and examines the features of each one.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship to enhance graduate studies
Study on Challenges and Opportunities for Strengthening Tertiary Agricultural Education and Private Sector Collaboration in Africa.

Growing Africa: Unlocking the Potential of Agribusiness
Africa’s farmers and agribusinesses could create a trillion-dollar food market by 2030 if they can expand their access to more capital, electricity, better technology and irrigated land to grow high-value nutritious foods.

A Guide to Inclusive Agribusiness
Report by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ)

Agricultural Value Chain Finance
The purpose of this book is to provide an understanding of the emerging field of agricultural value chain finance.

Retrospective review of private and public sector agribusiness investments in Africa
World Bank Research Paper


Setting-up an equity fund for SMEs agribusinesses in Uganda
The European Union and other partners are working with the Government to launch an equity fund for SMEs agribusinesses in Uganda.

Launch of two Dutch Funding instruments on food security
(a) Food and Business Global Challenges Programme (GCP). The closing date for submitting preliminary applications is9 July 2013.
(b) Food and Business Applied Research Fund (ARF). Proposals can be submitted continuously during the course of this first Call for proposals.

The Technical Assistance Facility of the African Agriculture Fund.
This is a grant based facility, that supports capacity building for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) invested in by the African Agriculture Fund (AAF) and its SME Fund

Value chain based research funding
An innovative approach to funding ARD is the value chain based research funding.

US, Sweden create $25m fund to spur private agric investment
The governments of Sweden and the United States of America created a $25 million African agriculture fund for the six-member New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition initiative.

This blogpost was originally published on the PAEPARD blog