The African Development Bank’s Board of Directors has approved a $60m loan to Elnefeidi Group Holding Company to help finance its long-term agriculture and food expansion programme.
The planned expansion includes increasing agricultural productivity, enhancing related infrastructure, food processing and distribution. It will directly contribute in developing Sudan’s livestock value chain (poultry and beef) by increasing the country’s export capacity for value-added livestock products. This will help reduce the economic value that the country loses by exporting millions of live animals each year.
“Agricultural transformation is one of the Bank’s top five strategic priorities and the Bank is delighted to have identified a viable private sector actor like Elnefeidi Group which has a proven track record and through which we can channel the Bank’s support” said Atsuko Toda, African Development Bank Director for Agriculture Finance and Rural Development.
The loan is expected to contribute significantly to food security, food import substitution, and household incomes by creating jobs and increasing local productivity and distribution by over half a million metric tonnes each year across several countries. Elnefeidi Group employs over 1,842 people and has distribution networks covering North, East and Central Africa.
“This approval to Elnefeidi Group is another demonstration of the African Development Bank’s continued support and strong commitment to enable, deepen, and empower the private sector in Sudan, as an engine of economic and inclusive growth,” said Raubil Durowoju, the Bank’s Country Manager for Sudan. “This is also consistent with Sudan’s National Agriculture Investment Plan, which seeks to achieve agriculture-linked growth, largely through private investments.”
Sudan is widely considered to hold immense food production potential. Sixty-three percent of its land area is classified as agricultural, and its competitive advantages include: a promising demographic profile, projected growth in household food demand, and proximity to a range of markets in Central Africa, North Africa and the Middle East, many of them food-deficit countries.
Letter to a Farmer
Wheat Farmer (shutterstock)
You are my hero. You might think your life is mundane, perhaps even redundant, however for millions like me on the outside looking in, you are extraordinary.
For many of us who are not farmers, we drive past your swaying fields and hum about spacious skies and kernels of corn.
You till the soil from morning till night. Waking up every day to ensure the labour of your hands is coming to fruition. You are the epitome of hard work and determination and although that may sound cliche, it is true.
Farmer, you are indeed wonderful. You plant seeds in the soil and watch them grow. You help to build nations and communities both at home and abroad.
Although policies remain in place to stifle your trade or limit the way you import and export goods, you stay committed to your trade and it’s robust returns.
For the days, months and years that you toil, for the food you give and for the way you inspire millions around the world, I say thank you.
Please don’t let anyone tell your story, especially those who have no idea what it’s like to produce their best work.
If many of us could work from dusk to dawn, then receive one-fourth of the money that the crop was worth only a year ago, we would not last in our professions.
I doubt most of us would stay in our trades if we received one-fourth pay for our best efforts.
Thank you for your dedication and contribution to society. Thank you for making the world a better place. Your commitment needs to be emulated by many.
Hopefully, you would pass the torch of your excellence to the younger generation and give them a chance to fill the fields with robust crops and produce.
Your work reminds us that farming is indeed the essential work that needs to be done.
A loyal consumer.
Getting women in the driver’s seat of Africa’s agribusiness revolution
Monica Musonda, CEO Java Foods shares a joke with colleague as they package Supa Cereal Bags (Photo: AfDB)
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, November 25, 2019- Monica Musonda, CEO of Zambian food processing company Java Foods, certainly faced hurdles in her rise to the top, but she overcame them.
“Although the barriers to entry for women can be frustrating, they are often basic and relatively easy to resolve,” she said, playing down her struggles. “My climb up the agribusiness ladder has been challenging but definitely worthwhile.”
Musonda, whose company produces affordable and nutritious food snacks made from local ingredients, is one of just a handful of female agripreneurs who have successfully broken through the proverbial glass ceiling in Africa’s agribusiness industry.
Women are the backbone of Africa’s agricultural sector. From farm to fork, African women are players along the entire agricultural value chain, be it as farmers, livestock breeders, processors, traders, workers, entrepreneurs or consumers. While their influence on the continent’s growing agribusiness industry is undeniable, more solutions are needed to address the gender-specific challenges they face to boost their participation.
The average African woman is a budding entrepreneur either by choice or by circumstance. According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Women’s Report 2016/17, the continent has the highest percentage of female entrepreneurs in the world, with one in four women starting or managing a business. The agribusiness industry is often the natural focus of this entrepreneurial drive.
Across the continent, women dominate as primary processors post-harvest, as traders with bustling market stalls, as owners of fast food restaurants and with increasingly frequency as manufacturers of packaged ready-to-eat food products. Yet despite this dynamism, female-led agribusinesses tend to remain small, fragmented and informal in nature. They struggle to sustain and scale-up their agribusinesses into well-organized profitable enterprises.
Admittedly, the challenging business environment in many African countries including poor infrastructure and unreliable legal and regulatory systems affects all business activities of both men and women. However, in addition women-led businesses must also grapple with a number of gender-specific constraints, inhibiting their expansion into more lucrative market segments.
Firstly, African women often lack the technical know-how. Despite the gains in female education on the continent, highly productive agribusinesses require specialized vocational and technical skills in fields such as food safety, food conservation, packaging and product certification which many African women do not readily possess.
Access to finance is the most frequently cited obstacle by African SMEs. Women entrepreneurs face multiple difficulties in securing funding mainly due to lack of collateral in the form of land and other tangible assets and a high-risk perception. According to the African Development Bank, an estimated $42 billion financing gap exists for African women across business value chains, including $15.6 billion in agriculture alone. Women are forced to rely on personal savings and family loans which are rarely enough to fund their businesses to scale.
Thirdly, socio-cultural barriers and stereotypes persist. African women remain the primary caregivers in families meaning that managing those responsibilities while growing a thriving business can become a difficult balancing act.
Over the last two decades, many governments and development institutions have rolled out programs to promote access to finance, agricultural inputs and provide technical support and business training to female agripreneurs. The African Development Bank recently set up the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA), a bold pan-African initiative to bridge the financing gap facing women. It adopts a three-pronged approach centered on improving access to finance, providing technical assistance and strengthening the enabling environment.
It often takes very little to make a difference. The capital injection required by the majority of female led SME agribusinesses on the continent is typically less than $50,000. And women have consistently proven to be more credit-worthy than men, usually paying back loans within agreed timeframes. Successful solutions by women for women such as microfinance and saving groups, peer-to-peer training and information sharing should also be reinforced and taken to scale.
More of such initiatives are urgently needed across the continent. Solutions must be based on in-depth engagement with the women business owners themselves to properly understand their frustrations and needs. Tailored programs designed to specifically address these pain points are critical. The Global Gender Summit is a timely opportunity to drive this forward.
Women are central for Africa’s agricultural transformation to be successful, sustainable and inclusive. More African female agripreneurs must be supported to grow and progressively transition into the business segments of agricultural value chains which are most profitable. It has been proven time and time again that when African women thrive the entire society shares in those dividends.
Also Read: Meet Sivi Malukisa, The Congolese Entrepreneur Whose Food Startup Is Promoting DRC Cuisine
By: Mariam Yinusa and Edward Mabaya are Principal Economist and Manager, respectively, in the Agribusiness Development Division of the African Development Bank.
These Agricultural Businesses Do Not Involve Farming
Agriculture is one of those vocations that has received a lot of buzz lately. Not only are Millennials increasingly becoming aware of the fact that a career in agriculture can be rewarding both socially and otherwise, but there are also a lot of resources that are becoming available to people about agriculture and its diverse branches. Here are five careers in agriculture that you can get involved in. It is important to know that these don’t require getting your hands dirty with any farming at all. Depending on you live in, some of these careers may be more lucrative than others, but here are some ideas:
With so many platforms such as Quora, WordPress, Medium, and varying social media platforms, writing has become a necessary skill, especially in the information age. Although it takes a long time to make money from a blog, an agricultural company that genuinely wants to get its message across to the world needs a good copywriter, someone who can document the beauty of agriculture in all of its glory. If you already work for an ag-based business, consider asking for more earning power by honing your writing skills even if you haven’t learned the art. If you can prove yourself as a talented writer in the agriculture industry, there are numerous opportunities out there to make money.
Landscaping does take a lot of time and hard work. Although it is not the most idyllic form of agriculture, it is possible to make a lucrative living from mowing lawns, for example. Although not many people enjoy the art of mowing lawns, if you get proficient at it and have the right equipment, it is possible to minimize expenses and grow from there. If you’re looking for a place to specialize, there might be potential there. This is another one where you can start very small, and with some hard work and with creative marketing, you can scale into a real business!
Pest Control Specialist.
Farmers find that among the most nagging issues that they face is the infestation of pests on heir farmland. Many large-scale farmers are more than happy to pay pest control specialists to assist them with taking care of the pests that may plague their farms. Perhaps you have a specific pest problem in your area that you can help solve for local landowners. It may be very well worth the effort.
There is a vast demand for workers with knowledge specific to Urban Agriculture. Many farmers offer tours as a way to supplement their income; however, few of them provide education on how to grow. Everyone is looking for something to do on evenings and weekends. If you can put together an exciting presentation to show people how they can grow at home — they will buy equipment, nutrients, and replacement parts from you. You could also take it one extra step further and sell rooted plants and seeds as well.
Consulting and designing systems for restaurants and commercial businesses. Firms that agric-focused have been a lucrative form of income for a few years. Most of these businesses usually involve selling a shipping container that is pre-configured to grow. It is a complicated feat, but not an impossible one to start. A more challenging route, on the other hand, would be to design and install systems for residential use.
Agriculture shouldn’t be restricted to the soil only. There are many ways to get involved with Agriculture either as a side gig or a full-time hobby. In fact, many people retire to agriculture-based careers these days. Are you thinking of breaking into the agricultural sector? Which track would you follow? Leave your comments in the comment section below!
By: Sughnen Yongo/farmcrowdy