Increased Investment Key to Agricultural Growth
This entry originally appeared on Business Daily Africa and was written by Willy Bett.
Last September, President Uhuru Kenyatta hosted the annual African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Nairobi where he delivered a blunt assessment of Africa’s economic future. “The transformation of Africa,” he said, “will only work if we transform agriculture.”
Our future fortunes are in the hands of our farmers and the food industry. Three out of every four Kenyans work in some aspect of agriculture and food production and economic growth in agriculture is 11 times more effective at reducing poverty than growth in any other sector.
The importance of agriculture for Kenya and for all of Africa is now widely acknowledged and a new wave of support is rising in both the public and private sector, and among development partners and donors.
For example, at last year’s AGRF, the African Development Bank pledged $24 billion over the next 10 years for agribusiness projects in Africa.
In Kenya, Mr Kenyatta pledged $200 million in new spending to help young farmers gain access to markets, financing and insurance.
The Kenya Commercial Bank Group set aside $350 million — five percent of the bank’s overall lending portfolio — for financing agriculture business initiatives targeting Kenya’s 3.5 million smallholder family farmers.
The prospect of a surge of investments for Kenyan farmers and local agriculture businesses is raising expectations for Kenya’s agriculture sector. That’s why the government, in partnership with the African Union Commission (AUC), the AUC’s New Partnership for Africa’s Development agency, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, and Africa Lead (a programme run by the United States Agency for International Development), convened a three-day meeting in Nairobi last month to build consensus for a new strategy that will... Read more on Business Daily Africa.