Healthy and sustainable soil dominates World Soil Day

World Soil Day, celebrated on December 5, 2023, marks another annual event dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of healthy soil and advocating for sustainable soil management. This day presents a crucial moment for Africa, a continent where soil is not just a resource but the very foundation of life, culture, and survival. The day serves as a reminder of the importance of soil health, particularly in the African context where it supports the livelihoods of millions. Safeguarding the health of African soils for future generations is not just about enhancing food security but is also crucial for environmental sustainability and economic resilience across the continent.

The challenge of soil degradation in Africa is alarming. Deforestation, overgrazing, and inappropriate agricultural practices have led to severe soil erosion, nutrient depletion, and decreased agricultural productivity. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has reported that approximately 65% of Africa’s arable land is damaged, with soil erosion affecting about 30% of the continent’s land. This degradation not only threatens food production but also the ecological balance, affecting biodiversity and the natural systems that many rural communities depend upon.

Africa’s diverse climates and ecosystems present unique challenges and opportunities in soil management. The Sahel region, for example, faces soil erosion mainly due to wind, while in sub-Saharan Africa, water-induced soil erosion is more prevalent. These issues are further compounded by the impacts of climate change, which introduces more unpredictable weather patterns and extreme events, exacerbating soil erosion and degradation.

However, amidst these challenges, there are rays of hope. Across the continent, innovative soil health practices are being implemented to combat these issues. AGRA is leading groundbreaking efforts to enhance soil health, a crucial step towards food security and environmental sustainability. AGRA has embarked on various initiatives to combat soil degradation across the continent. AGRA’s approach is multifaceted, focusing on research, education, and practical interventions. The adoption of regenerative agriculture practices is gaining momentum. These practices, which focus on using local knowledge and natural resources, are creating sustainable and productive farming systems. The use of compost and manure to improve soil fertility, integration of trees in farming systems (agroforestry), and promotion of indigenous crops suited to local conditions are examples of such practices.

AGRA invests heavily in research and development to understand the specific needs of different soil types across Africa. Research projects in collaboration with local and international agricultural institutions. These projects aim to develop soil-specific fertilizers and identify sustainable farming practices that can rejuvenate soil nutrients without harming the environment. This commitment to soil health is a commitment to life itself, a recognition of the intertwined destiny of soil and humanity, particularly in a continent as diverse and vibrant as Africa.

Awareness and knowledge are key to changing farming practices. AGRA conducts extensive training programs for farmers, focusing on soil health management techniques. These include conservation agriculture, integrated pest management, and the use of organic matter for soil enrichment, significantly impacting soil management practices at the grassroots level. AGRA promotes sustainable agricultural practices that maintain and improve soil health. These practices include crop rotation, intercropping, use of cover crops, appropriate crop nutrition among others. Such methods help in maintaining soil structure, preventing erosion, and enhancing soil fertility. AGRA works closely with African governments to influence policy decisions regarding soil health. Their efforts have led to the implementation of favourable agricultural policies in several countries, promoting sustainable soil management.

The impact of AGRA’s initiatives is evident in the improved soil health and increased crop yields reported in various regions. In Kenya for example through initiative such as the sustainable land management program, Laikipia Isiolo Samburu transforming the environment through nexus and strengthening regenerative agriculture in Kenya program. While progress is being made, the journey towards completely revitalized African soils is long. AGRA continues to champion the cause, but it requires the collaborative effort of governments, NGOs, the private sector, and most importantly, the farmers themselves. On this World Soil Day, we celebrate the strides made by AGRA and other stakeholders in enhancing soil health in Africa. Their work not only contributes to food security but also plays a critical role in combating climate change and promoting sustainable development. Let us all join hands in this noble endeavour to protect and nurture the very foundation of our existence – the soil.

AGRA, GGGI sign MOU to promote food systems in Africa and the Middle East

Dubai, UAE, December 10, 2023: AGRA and the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) have today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to scale agriculture and food systems across Africa. The MOU seeks to foster cooperation for the development and implementation of research and developmental programs to improve the well-being of farmers in Africa. It will kick off with at least four countries for the first year, increasing to 15 targeted countries across the continent.

The pact was signed by AGRA President Dr. Agnes Kalibata and GGGI’s Mr. Mahamadou Tounkara, Regional Director, Middle East & North Africa on the sidelines of the just concluded COP28 held in Dubai.

Commenting on the MOU, Dr. Kalibata said it was one of the major highlights of the meeting held in Dubai where she served on the COP28 President’s advisory committee.

“We are delighted with this partnership that will anchor our efforts to transform and improve the lives of African farmers. This co-operation will catalyse rapid improvements in food systems as well as further entrenching sustainable agriculture on the continent,” said Dr Kalibata.

As part of the MOU, the parties will jointly mobilise funding for technical assistance to members and partner states to help them transform their food security plans to green bankable solutions that can attract investors.

The two institutions will also develop innovative finance instruments such as green bonds and green sukuk to reduce risk and encourage investments in the Middle East and Africa as well as support countries towards climate resilience and low emissions. The MOU will also foster climate-smart agricultural technology solutions and promote green farming in the selected countries.

“We need to have collaborative efforts to tackle the urgent issues of food security, climate crisis, and rural livelihood vulnerability. We believe that by supporting farmers to apply climate smart technology solutions on their farms and transitioning them towards green farming is a critical step in helping them increase agricultural productivity, food security and reduce harmful emissions,” said Mr. Tounkara.

Under the MOU, GGGI will provide technical assistance for the design and structuring of projects that support food security and food systems transformation as well as mobilise public and private investments from investors in the Middle East. AGRA will support the implementation of activities and commit resources to support the technical assistance in rolling out the plans.

About GGGI
The Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) was founded as a treaty-based international, inter-governmental organization in 2012 at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. GGGI supports its Member States in transitioning their economies toward a green growth model that simultaneously achieves poverty reduction, social inclusion, environmental sustainability, and economic growth. With 48 Member States and over 22 Partner countries and regional integration organizations in the process of accession, GGGI delivers programs and projects in over 40 countries. GGGI’s work contributes to its Member States’ efforts to fulfill the Sustainable Development Goals and the Nationally Determined Contributions to the Paris Agreement. GGGI is facilitating the Africa and Middle East SAFE Initiative, launched at COP28, a USD 10 billion public-private partnership, coordinating diverse stakeholders for climate-resilient agriculture and sustainable food systems in Africa and the Middle East.

About AGRA
AGRA is an African-led alliance focused on putting smallholder farmers at the center of the continent’s growing economy by transforming agriculture from a solitary struggle to survive into farming as a business that thrives. Founded in 2006, at a time when agricultural development was emerging from a 20-year decline characterized by minimal growth and investment in the sector, AGRA’s mission is to catalyze and sustain an agricultural transformation in Africa through innovation-driven productivity increases and access to markets and finance that improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. AGRA serves as the secretariat of the Africa’s Food Systems Forum (AFS Forum), (AFS Forum Secretariat) which is a coalition of leading actors in African Agriculture (hereinafter referred to as “the AFS Forum Partners Group”) focused on putting farmers at the center of the continent’s growing economies

The Commonwealth Secretariat and AGRA today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will leverage digital innovations to help transform smallholder agriculture across Africa

The MoU aims to bolster agricultural production and trade through the harmonisation of agricultural data systems at national level using a Digital Public Infrastructure model (DPI). During the recent Commonwealth Trade Ministers Meeting, a unanimous agreement centred on the development of resilient DPIs as a backbone for intra-Commonwealth trade and investment.

Under the MoU, the Commonwealth will help facilitate multi-stakeholder dialogues on ‘National Agricultural Data Infrastructure (NAgDI)’ and capacity building on ‘National Digital Agriculture Strategies’ in selected countries in Africa, as part of a suite of strategic initiatives.

The NAgDI is a model of DPI being designed to support member countries to better manage their agricultural data.   

The MoU was signed by Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC and Dr Agnes Kalibata, the President of AGRA at COP28, the UN climate change summit taking place in Dubai. In her address, the Secretary-General expressed admiration for AGRA’s longstanding achievements in Africa.

The organisation focuses on scaling up agricultural innovations that help smallholder farmers increase their incomes and livelihoods and improve food security.  

The Commonwealth Secretary-General said: 

“The long-standing spirit of cooperation in the Commonwealth positions us to play a crucial role in supporting member countries to harness the power of data to ensure sovereignty over how the digital assets are handled.

By collaborating with organisations, such as AGRA, who are doing important work on the ground with governments, communities and smallholder farmers the Commonwealth can help to reduce duplication and improve impact.” 

Dr Kalibata said: 

“This partnership will complement our efforts to advocate for and advance Africa’s food systems transformation for people and planet. It builds on our strengths to foster synergy to inspire action, attract investment and reform policies for improved livelihoods in a sustainable, inclusive and resilient environment.

Working together, we can strengthen South-South collaboration in advancing global dialogues on climate action, trade, investments and digitization, complementing our recent engagements with IICA, Grow Asia, UAE and Barbados.” 

With 21 member states in Africa, the Commonwealth aims to use this MoU to collaborate closely with AGRA to bolster support for these nations while advancing intra-Commonwealth knowledge sharing. The MoU signing marks a new phase of collaboration between the Commonwealth and AGRA to tackle significant agricultural challenges across Africa.  

The implementation plan outlined within the MoU directly addresses these challenges, emphasising both organisations’ shared commitment to fostering sustainable development and growth on the continent. 

The Commonwealth champions a flagship programme on food system transformation, steered by the Commonwealth Connectivity Agenda. With a policy-driven approach, the Commonwealth aims to advance the impact of digital innovations in African agriculture through the facilitation of the enabling environment for digitalisation. 

Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) announces USD 10 billion groundbreaking “Africa and Middle East SAFE Initiative.”

Abu Dhabi, UAE — Countries and Institutions from Africa and the Middle East joined forces under the facilitation of the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) to officially introduce the groundbreaking “Africa and Middle East SAFE Initiative.” This landmark initiative endeavors to Scale-up Agriculture and Food systems for Economic development in Africa and the Middle East and aims to benefit millions of people whose livelihoods are threatened by the climate crisis.

The Africa and Middle East SAFE Initiative, a groundbreaking USD 10 billion public-private partnership, represents collaborative efforts to tackle the urgent issues of food security, climate change, and rural livelihood vulnerability. Emphasizing the centrality of food security in COP28 discussions, the initiative demonstrates a dedicated commitment to advancing sustainable development and resilience in Africa and the Middle East through comprehensive and holistic strategies.

During the launch event, government and institutional representatives expressed strong support for the initiative, underlining its significance in addressing critical issues on a regional scale. “We cannot approach the food security problem without a comprehensive approach. It is rare to find a program like the SAFE initiative, which will bring economic development in a multi-dimensional way, bringing public and private sectors together,” H.E. Khaled Mahdi, Secretary General, Supreme Council for Planning and Development, State of Kuwait remarked.  “There is an urgent need to ease access for developing countries to climate finance and technology, and in particular taking into account the current levels of internal and external debt of the African countries. It is therefore important we offer these countries investment opportunities. We capitalize on the Africa SAFE initiative as an approach to improve the lives of people in Africa in a sustainable and climate resilient manner, ” H.E. Hala Helmy el-Said, Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Arab Republic of Egypt remarked.

By leveraging Africa’s agricultural potential and the Middle East’s investment capacity, the Africa and Middle East SAFE Initiative aims to unlock green investments, promote climate-smart agriculture for rural farmers, and create green jobs, all geared towards securing a sustainable future for these regions. Comprising the Technical Assistance Fund (TAF) and Investment Platform (IP), the Initiative sets ambitious goals, aiming to irrigate 2 million hectares of African farmland, enhance climate resilience for 10 million smallholder farmers (with a specific focus on women and young people), and effectively address food security challenges. “With food security and agriculture production at the heart of the economic sector of Côte d’Ivoire, this initiative will support particularly youth and women. On behalf of H.E. Alassane Ouattara the country is happy to provide support to the SAFE initiative,” Côte d’Ivoire State Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and Food Production, Mr. Kobenan Kouassi Adjoumani said. 

GGGI is committed to facilitating ongoing dialogues and shaping the potential of the initiative. “This initiative is poised to make a substantial impact by not only addressing immediate challenges but also contributing to the long-term well-being of Africa and the Middle East,” Dr. Frank Rijsberman GGGI’s Director General said. “GGGI is dedicated to facilitating the Africa and Middle East SAFE Initiative, coordinating diverse stakeholder voices to ensure its successful progression toward climate-resilient agriculture and sustainable food systems in Africa and the Middle East,” Dr. Frank Rijsberman added.

Operationalization of the initiative will be supervised by a Board representing participating countries and institutions. GGGI’s Regional Office for MENA will serve as the Secretariat for the Board of the Africa and Middle East SAFE Initiative.

Re-Gain: Green Climate Fund and AGRA partner to transform Africa’s food systems

Despite the challenges posed by the climate crisis, Africa holds tremendous potential to become the world’s breadbasket. The opportunities and challenges facing Africa’s food systems are immense. The continent possesses 60 per cent of the world’s unused arable land and has the potential to accelerate agricultural productivity by 2 or 3 times. Additionally, Africa has the capacity to create a food market worth USD 1 trillion by 2030. However, it must address the dual challenge of escalating food and nutrition insecurity impacting nearly 300 million people while grappling with the intensifying effects of the climate crisis.

Recognising that agriculture and food systems are major levers for Africa’s green growth, the Green Climate Fund (GCF), in collaboration with the AGRA launched Re-Gain, a groundbreaking regional programme that will support Africa in realising its promise as a food production powerhouse.

Announced at the African Heads of States Food Systems Session at COP28, this initiative will enhance African smallholders’ access to technologies, make food loss reduction solutions more accessible and affordable, and support the creation of enabling environments for transitioning food systems.

With project preparation funding from GCF to support development of the programme, GCF and AGRA will work together in designing and implementing an initiative to leverage over USD 100 million in financing to support the wide scale adoption of food loss solutions, in partnership with the private sector. Already, a group of countries including Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia have joined this initiative, and further participation is expected in subsequent phases.

The financial support will enable partners and participating countries to conduct necessary diagnostics and consultations, align programmes with country priorities and climate science, and deliver meaningful impact to African smallholders.

This initiative is on track to become the first project developed through GCF’s pilot Project Specific Assessment Approach (PSAA). PSAA is a new funding modality that aims to streamline and broaden access to GCF resources by working with new partners, countries, and technologies, that have been underserved by the existing GCF Accredited Entity network.

“GCF is proud to partner with AGRA on Re-Gain, which has the potential to transform Africa’s food systems. When implemented, this initiative will mobilise private capital at scale and help lower the cost of innovative solutions to prevent food loss and improve the wellbeing and livelihoods of smallholders, their families, and communities. This is also the first programme to come out of a GCF pilot that expands access to funding for organisations that are not accredited to GCF,” said Mafalda Duarte, GCF Executive Director.

“Underestimating the repercussions of food loss can inadvertently downplay its profound effects on the critical issue of food security. This programme is timely in expediting innovative solutions for the various dimensions of food loss, from post-harvest losses to supply chain inefficiencies at both the national, regional and international levels,” said Dr. Agnes Kalibata, AGRA President.

“Addressing post-harvest losses requires a multi-faceted approach that includes investments in infrastructure, technology dissemination, and the creation of effective market linkages. With proper investment and partnership amongst key stakeholders, it is possible to empower African smallholders, enhance food security, and contribute to the overall economic development of the region,” said H.E. Hailemariam Desalegn, Former Prime Minister of Ethiopia and AGRA Board Chair.

How the e-granary is helping improve the livelihoods of farmers in Kenya

Africa has an estimated 33 million smallholder farms.

Despite their small operational scale, the smallholder farmers, who grow staple crops such as maize, rice, wheat, cassava and sorghum, contribute up to 70 per cent of the continent’s food supply.

Additionally, smallholder farmers produce around a third of the world’s food, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations.

However, these farmers face many challenges, including access to finance and quality inputs, climate change, lack of proper storage facilities, and market access.

To help them address these challenges, the Eastern Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF) deployed an integrated digital farmer services platform, e-granary, to improve the living standards of smallholder farmers in Kenya through increased incomes and financial inclusion.

To access the platform, farmers must register using their phone numbers, which also double as their mobile wallets.

The farmers receive payment on produce delivery to warehouses (on credit) for 100 per cent (assuming a low grade). The grain is graded, and the batch is tagged for traceability. Thereafter, the revised grade is communicated to the farmers.

Prices increase after the harvest, and credit is based on the anticipated price hike, the new grade and credit score.

E-granary sells the grain to the output trader and pays the farmers (net of loans, interest charges and warehouse fees).

Speaking on the sidelines of the AGRF Summit 2023, EAFF Board Member Mr. Philip Kiriro noted that they have worked towards ensuring that farmers are organised into cooperatives or business clusters to manage the value chains and the products they deal with.

“Our approach is slightly different because we have said, as small farmers, if you look at the markets, markets have owners, even the markets in our countries, in our capitals that are agricultural markets, they have owners, it’s very difficult for farmers to get onto that market and do business,” he said, adding, “So we said, why don’t we  establish our business line through value chains, by organising ourselves and agreeing that we need to collectively make sure that we dominate one important segment of agri-food business and that is aggregation.” 

This has been advantageous to farmers, who have also received support from the private sector.  For example, partnering with off-takers has ensured the farmers’ produce has a ready market.

Farmers have also gained support from suppliers of farm inputs, where the lobby and specific groups agree on the method used to supply fertilisers and seeds to save money, ensure quality input and see to it that the products reach the farms on time.

E-granary has also assisted farmers in accessing finance through tailor-made products and addressed risks that farmers face by having discussions with insurance companies.

“For example, Vision Fund has microfinance, and we worked with them in Kenya. It got to a point where they started reducing the interest specifically for farmers out of the money they give out because they saw the larger benefits that emanate from us aggregating farmers. They can support farmers in borrowing for other activities like value addition, apart from just borrowing for crop production,” said Mr. Kiriro.

Goodwill from the government is also crucial in any sector, and e-granary has allowed farmers to get government support for their projects.

“In the case of Kenya, we have gone to counties like Nakuru. We have been to counties in Western and Eastern Kenya to discuss how we can partner with county governments, now that agriculture is devolved to ensure that we energise agribusiness,” said Mr Kiriro.

Those county governments have been receptive to e-granary as they have already started talking about aggregation centres.

“That means they have taken our vision where you aggregate produce and seek markets and manage, you know, even post-harvest losses that we have been talking about for years. Once you aggregate, even as farmers, you can see the size of the aggregation or the bulk and you say, ‘I think with this one we can start value addition, we can seek a private sector partner to  process this produce,’” he said.

Aggregating produce has significant benefits in agribusiness. For instance, when maize farmers aggregate their produce, they can collectively negotiate for better business and the buyers do not have to go around looking for the maize. This translates to a lot of savings in terms of overheads.

A lot went into making the e-granary initiative a success, including support from development partners like AGRA. “If you look at the engagement we have had, the support mainly comes from development partners. Like the e-granary process of Kenya was initially supported by AGRA, while in Rwanda and Uganda, we have been supported by the World Bank,” Mr. Kiriro said.

With support from AGRA’s Financial Inclusion for Smallholder Farmers in Africa (FISFAP) programme, the e-granary worked with farmers in Meru cooperatives, Nakuru, Trans Nzoia, Bomet, and Narok.

“Out of that, we generated a platform that has membership, where farmers say they are part of the e-granary platform, and with that platform, now we can reach them through information extension, consulting, digital, innovation, issues on agronomical challenges, issues around markets,” he said.

Farmers’ forums need to be well organised to ensure their success. The farmers also need proper training and guidance from a secretariat that understands them. To thrive in agribusiness, they also have to successfully go through the aggregating process, for access to market, and partner with off-takers. With this, smallholder farmers will drive food systems transformation across the world.

From Dialogues to Clear Action Plans: Kenya’s Path to Sustainable Food Systems – The 2024-2030 Kenya Food Systems and Land Use Action Plan

Kenya, like many nations across the globe, faces a critical challenge: transforming its food systems to secure a brighter future for its people, nature, and the climate. The Food and Land Use Coalition (FOLU) is at the forefront of this transformation, advocating for science-based solutions and fostering a shared understanding of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Kenya’s food systems currently are unsustainable, contributing to national carbon emissions, biodiversity loss, and widespread hunger and malnutrition, particularly among women. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the fragility of these systems and underscored the urgency of change. Inclusivity and equity must be at the heart of any food systems transformation.

Devolution: A Catalyst for Localized Solutions in a Multistakeholder Approach 

One of Kenya’s strengths in addressing these issues lies in its devolved governance structure. Devolution empowers local authorities to tailor solutions to the unique challenges faced by various regions. Recognizing this potential, we must integrate a context-specific approach into our efforts, embracing inclusivity and innovation as vital enablers of food system transformation. In this journey, innovation is not just a tool but a prerequisite for success. To effectively address the multifaceted challenges within Kenya’s food systems, it’s essential to promote national multistakeholder transformations while collaborating at regional and global levels. This approach fosters collective action and cooperation, essential in tackling issues that transcend borders.

FOLU Kenya’s Role

In response to these challenges, FOLU Kenya is working closely with the Kenyan government, collaborating with the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development and allied ministries. The goal is to develop the Kenya Food Systems and Land Use Action Plan 2024-2030. This document will provide a roadmap for players within the food and land use sectors, guiding them towards sustainability and enhanced coordination.

Central to this initiative are the workshops organized by FOLU Kenya secretariat, comprised of AGRA, GAIN, and WRI Africa. These workshops aimed to engage a wide range of stakeholders in the development of the Kenya Food Systems and Land Use Action Plan. A team of experts, representing diverse institutions developed oversaw the development of the plan’s zero draft. Additionally, a series of consultative meetings with stakeholders from various sectors were organized to provide valuable input into the process. The workshops were key to build a consensus on Challenges and Recommendations. Stakeholders came together to identify and agree upon the most pressing challenges faced by Kenya’s food systems and proposed actionable recommendations.

The workshops served as a platform for Food Systems and Land Use stakeholders in Kenya, encompassing agriculture, SMEs, policy makers, water management, climate resilience, natural resource management, sustainable consumption, and healthy diets, among others. Expert consultants facilitated these sessions, ensuring that the process was robust and inclusive. The consultations involved a series of workshops with participants drawn from all the 47 counties through the various regional economic blocks in Kenya.

The journey towards transforming Kenya’s food systems and land use practices is a complex but essential one. Through dialogue, collaboration, innovation, clear action plans, monitoring and coordination mechanisms, we can pave the way for a sustainable future. The Kenya Food Systems and Land Use Action Plan 2024-2030 represents a pivotal step in this journey, offering a clear roadmap towards a better, more equitable, and environmentally responsible food system. Together, we can make it a reality.

Figure 2: Eng Laban Kiplagat Director for Land and Environment in the Ministry of Agriculture, Kibibi Abdalla CEC for Agriculture and Blue Economy speaking at the Coast region consultations and the Healthy diets workstream provide their input to the plan.

Figure 3: A section of participants pose for a photo at the Mt Kenya and Aberdare region consultative workshop in Nanyuki. 

Figure 4: A section of participants pose for a photo at the North Rift Economic Block consultative workshop in Eldoret. 

Figure 5: Willy Toa-MOA and John Macharia- Country Manager Kenya addressing participants during the Nanyuki and Machakos Consultative meetings respectively.

AGRA/CGA Partner to Advance Regenerative Agriculture in Kenya ahead of the Oct-Dec 2023 Rains

Jane Njoka, Regional Sales Rep at Wondergro showcase WonderGro is a new product which has been designed to improve soil health and improve the efficiency of fertilizer use.  WonderGro helps farmers to restore the fertility of soils which have been depleted and have become acidic through over-use of inorganic fertilizers.

AGRA in partnership with the Cereal Growers Association (CGA) convened a pre-planning preparation forum with key stakeholders to reinforce regenerative agriculture practices in Makueni and Kitui counties.

Through the Strengthening Regenerative Agriculture in Kenya (STRAK) Project, funded by the IKEA Foundation, the partnership is entering its second phase following a successful initial phase in 2020/2021. 

The project’s core objective is to assist smallholder farmers in diversifying their crops, exploring new income sources, and adopting regenerative farming techniques to enhance soil health.

In attendance was County Executive Commissioner for Agriculture in Kitui County Dr. Stephen Kimwele, who stressed the importance of public private partnership. 

“It’s vital to consider agricultural produce markets and foster collaboration among Government, County Government, NGOs, and the Private Sector,” said Dr. Kimwele.

The forum, preceding the anticipated October to December rains, brought together implementing partners of STRAK and representatives from various sectors of the agricultural value chain in the lower Eastern region.

With the aim of reaching 100,000 farmers, the forum seeks to foster sustainable development in food and farming systems through innovative and regenerative models tailored to specific contexts. It also emphasized climate resilience and food security while providing comprehensive support to farmers across the entire value chain. 

Speaking at the forum, AGRA’s STRAK Project Program Officer Dr. Abednego Kiwia reaffirmed that the project seeks to encourage adoption of regenerative agriculture while increasing outputs for farmers in the region.

“The STRAK Project seeks to increase the productivity of farms, advocate for adoption of agricultural policies in county governments, and to promote resilience through home gardens, water conservation, poultry keeping and agroforestry. Through our implementing partners, the Project will see an increase in maize output in farms of the lower Eastern region in Kenya from 1.8 metric tons per hectare to 6 tons per hectare,” said Dr. Kiwia. 

Farmers are poised to gain a wealth of knowledge on Regenerative Agriculture, spanning a wide spectrum from seeds, fertilizers, and agrochemicals to effective storage methods. AGRA’s commitment lies in bridging the gap between suppliers and farmers, ensuring that agricultural products, brands, and the knowledge and skills needed to utilize them are readily accessible to farmers.  

Also present, CGA Regenerative Agriculture Project Manager, George Mabuka, said “Over 300 trained Village Based Advisors (VBAs) are now deployed, addressing the gap left by the limited number of Agricultural Officers on the ground. We focus on drought-resistant seeds, offer extension services, and training to boost food production, including Home Gardens targeting malnutrition and circular business models for sustainability,” said Mabuka.

Presentations covered a wide array of topics, including fertilizers, soil conditioners, seeds, crop protection, agro-chemicals, storage methods, and service provision.

Looking ahead, the partners agreed to support farmers with technology and machinery like augurs and rippers, that improve soil health and diverse crops that increase productivity ahead of the rains.

We Need a Double Pronged Public-Private Approach to Food Security

Dr. Agnes Kalibata, President of AGRA, on how the Ukraine conflict has been a big wake-up call for many African governments, the huge importance of investing in soils, and her frustration at the slow pace of climate mitigation.

Dr. Kalibata has served as the President of AGRA since 2014, where she leads the organization’s efforts to ensure a food-secure and prosperous Africa through inclusive, sustainable agricultural growth, improving the productivity and livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers in Africa. From 2019-2021, Dr. Kalibata also served as the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for the 2021 Food Systems Summit, at the start of the Decade of Action to improve food systems around the world to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Paris Agreement. Prior to joining AGRA, Dr. Kalibata was Rwanda’s Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) from 2008 to 2014, where she drove programs that moved her country from a food insecure to food secure status and became a reference point for other countries seeking to deliver agriculture transformation. Dr. Kalibata sits on various boards including the Global Commission on Adaptation, the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, the Global Panel for Agriculture & Food Systems for Nutrition, the Global Agriculture & Food Security Program (GAFSP), the Malabo-Montpellier Panel, the Global Commission on Climate Overshoot, and the Advisory Committee of the Presidency of COP28. Dr. Kalibata holds a doctorate in Entomology from the University of Massachusetts and has received many awards including the Africa Food Prize, Honorary Doctorates from the University of Liège, and from McGill University. She won the National Academy of Sciences’ Public Welfare Medal in 2019 for her work to drive Africa’s agricultural transformation, and in 2022, she received an Award from World Farmers Organization recognizing her leadership in mobilizing farmers’ contribution to the Food Systems Summit.

As an agricultural scientist, who has been both Minister of Agriculture in your home country of Rwanda, and head of AGRA for nearly ten years, where do you see real examples of more productive and sustainable farming underway across the continent? Can you spell out what seems to be the key factors leading to such success?

There are three broad things to keep in mind when looking at the success of an agricultural system – whether you’re in government or at AGRA. One critical element is access to technology, which is now mainly sufficient in most countries to advance decent production of food, anchored in higher productivity. Globally, we are producing five times more food today than 50 years ago. So there have been huge increases in efficiency over that time, and food has become a big industry. There are two basic elements to technology – improved seed with much better capabilities to give higher yields, and soil nutrition including availability of the right micronutrients in the soil and whether they are available for plants to use. Then, there are a range of other things such as water, and mechanization which help speed things along. But let me say, all this remains largely inaccessible without a functional “public commons” backbone, of which the most important element is extension. I work principally with smallholder farmers. They can’t afford extension on their own, so they need the public commons to provide this. The second public good is a viable market ecosystem, that farmers can plug into. The third one is infrastructure, going from energy to irrigation to roads. These are things that must be provided by the public commons. Outside of technology and a viable public support system, the third part I referred to above is the private sector backbone, which is extremely important. If you have these three things growing in tandem – technology, a public commons backbone, and an effective private sector – you will have an increasingly productive agricultural system.

Now, where has this worked on the continent? It’s in countries where you have strong functional public commons, and in places where they are investing more in the agricultural sector. Just as an example, between 2000 and 2015, we had a good number of African countries investing in agriculture. Starting in 2000, there was a lot of debate and recognition of the need to do things differently. This period was also when AGRA was born. Technology was a critical element of what’s been missing. The Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) was signed in 2003, which recognized very clearly the need to invest in public commons, but alongside both CAADP and AGRA, there was a clear recognition of the private sector as the backbone of the agri-food sector. The question of how well countries performed has been very mixed in that period, catalyzed partly by the food crisis of 2008, but three countries stick out in my mind. Rwanda, Ethiopia, and Nigeria put an increasing share of their state spending into agriculture in line with the pledge made through CAADP. This had an impact on food security, economic growth, and most of all, the poverty numbers. Take Rwanda for instance, where 12% of the population moved upwards leaving poverty behind. It’s no surprise, if you have 80% of the population involved in agriculture – it goes without saying that supporting farmers gain access to improved seeds and appropriate fertilizers, alongside extension and markets, had a direct correlation to farmers thriving. Farmers increased yields from less than half a metric ton to 3 or 4 metric tons of maize per hectare. Similarly, today in Ethiopia, they have decided to double down on wheat, due to the Ukraine crisis. This has led to $800mn of savings in foreign exchange, since they no longer need to buy so much wheat from abroad. In the end, success is attributable to a public commitment to spend in the agricultural sector and create an enabling environment for the private sector. It’s a double-pronged approach.

Is the crisis associated with the Ukraine conflict an opportunity to rethink strategy? Might it have the longer-term benefit of demonstrating the vulnerability of agri-food systems for certain African countries that have been forced to give agriculture much greater political attention and associated investment?

There is no question that the Russia-Ukraine conflict was a big wake-up call. Africa has not had so many hungry people and the cost-of-living crisis is impacting everyone. Unfortunately, this Russia-Ukraine crisis cannot be looked at in isolation from the climate crisis. The rise in prices is both a result of the war but also climate change, because food supplies have fallen and of course become so much more expensive- drought is becoming more frequent, the rains less predictable, and yields have been steadily going down. The latest IPCC report estimates a 34% loss of yields in Africa since 1961. We are hugely exposed because of being on the equator. Yes, both the Russian war on Ukraine and COVID-19 left Africa hugely exposed. How many people really knew that the wheat we had in our homes came from Russia or Ukraine? What the combined impact of COVID-19 and Russia-Ukraine did was expose the weaknesses of global supply chains and our dependencies. Many of the value chains and trade systems on which we have relied have been thrown into question. But every dark cloud has a silver lining and Africa is waking up to its potential and the need to produce more food as a result of these crises.

Currently, Africa imports $50bn of food each year, but this is food it could produce locally. I gave you the example of Ethiopia whereby increasing the area under wheat, in the last two years, Ethiopia has been able to cut its wheat imports by $800mn. African countries have largely treated the agriculture sector as subsistence-based, missing its huge economic and great business future. The sector currently generates revenues of $300bn but this could easily triple to become a trillion-dollar industry if we designed it right. For me, the silver lining is that we finally recognize the business opportunity of Africa’s food and agriculture sector. Of the $50 billion I referred to earlier, $18 billion is spent by sub-Saharan Africa to buy four crops that it can produce itself. To do this, we need stronger systems and to build resilience into these systems to reduce our exposure to every shock that comes along. When there is a global shock, we’re all shaken out. Look at the Russia-Ukraine crisis – we were all shaken out, including food value chains. We have largely stayed afloat because of the continent’s inherent resilient capacity anchored in a huge diversity of crops, and production systems.

The African Continental Free Trade Area does give us something to build on to increase trade within the continent – Africa right now depends on something like 17% of internal trade as compared with more than 70% elsewhere. So you can see Africa is a long way behind. We need to catch up and get to 50-60% of intra-African trade. We can do this. Most of this food can be produced here. The Russia-Ukraine war and COVID crisis have been a wake-up call to help us understand how our dependencies on food can be easily disrupted, but our hands are not tied – we can do something about it! Like the rest of the world, this is an opportunity to make farming highly productive. Let’s wake up to the fact that investing in securing food is in our interest, it is good business, and it is critical to strengthen the resilience of our systems. Politically, leaders are now waking up to this. Unfortunately, all our countries are struggling with debt, so to be able to save $800mn as Ethiopia did, is hugely valuable. Many other countries should follow Ethiopia’s lead.

Soils are clearly fundamental to building a sustainable agri-food system, yet they need long-term investment to build up their fertility and structure. How important is land tenure in providing incentives for investment in soils?

Soil is very easy to destroy, especially in some of our environments where we get torrential rain, in tropical equatorial areas- carbon and micronutrients are washed away with topsoil. Our farming practices do not help – the use of a hoe means that only the top 8cms are constantly being farmed creating a thin dust layer that gets washed away during torrential rains and strong winds. This contrasts with deep plowing which helps with water retention and holding capacity. So it is no wonder that farming systems in Africa are losing soils and associated carbon faster than we’re building them. But rebuilding carbon in soils costs money and time. There is a trade-off especially when you see the fragmentation of land in areas where so many of our farmers live. Choices become easier when tenure is clear. I have personally seen a lot of farmers doing their best to keep soils protected from erosion in hilly areas. They know it’s crucial and they even go to the bank and use their own money to invest in controlling erosion if they have secure land tenure. In Rwanda, farmers will go and borrow money and build bench terraces because they know it’s tremendously important to keep soil on their land.

But there is something else that you observe across the continent; farmers who don’t have secure land tenure aren’t prepared to invest in the soil. In many places, there is a loose land market, by which farmers will allow others to use their land for a single crop. The farmer who comes in is just looking for what the land will give them. They don’t invest in strengthening the ability of that land to give a good harvest in the long term but will take whatever the land can offer today. I once asked a farmer why she would use a good variety of seed but she was not prepared to use fertilizers, and she said, “This is borrowed land, so I can’t use fertilizers – they stay in the soil for three seasons and I am only allowed to use this land for one season.” For her, putting fertilizers into the soil is an investment. Secondly, even though she knows the soil needs carbon to help build water-holding capacity, she won’t mulch the crop, and when she does till the land she knows she is creating opportunities for erosion, but it is not her land! You definitely see better practices with farmers who have secure tenure over their land. They also start thinking about what the land means for the future of their families. They tell you “I have planted this forest – my children will use it for this and that.” You don’t hear this from farmers who don’t have tenure, so it is really very crucial.

There is an important land market emerging; and my worry is that if we don’t do it right, this land market will lead to increased degradation. Land markets need to be secured by law, with clear guard rails around the use of land by the renter. I should be able to rent out my land to someone to use it under certain conditions for a certain number of years, for certain crops, without fear of it being degraded. Policies and laws could work to discourage land degradation, but they would have to be based on secure land tenure. China has introduced this sort of land market. So there are important opportunities for governments to be more intentional around land markets, including how public land can be made available for use, how to protect it, and the role of land tenure in achieving this protection.

The regular Africa-Europe Agricultural Ministerial meeting takes place at the end of June. Does Europe have a particular role to play in support for Africa’s agricultural sector, or do you think African countries should look elsewhere for technical and financial support?

My belief is the partnership between Africa and Europe goes well beyond technical and financial support and must include trade. It would be great to see Europe become a better trading partner to Africa and Africa become a more important trading partner for Europe. Africa has always offered a big marketplace for Europe but the reverse is also possible. Europe could become a bigger market for Africa as well. Why should Europe have major trading relations with every other part of the world and treat Africa like a minority partner? 65% of Africans earn their livelihood from agriculture, so negotiating a way to enhance trade in agricultural goods would be a much better payoff than any amount of aid to Africa.

I can tell you from my time as a Minister, it is a nightmare to get the permits needed to trade with an EU country, on any commodity. Once you get it, that’s great, but since it can be revoked overnight, you risk that the crop dies in the field. It has happened many times for commodities like French beans or peppers grown here in Kenya. We want the EU to be a predictable trade partner, and for Africa to be treated equally, which could then result in a much stronger partnership. Instead of which Africa is seen by Europe as an object of charity. What Africa really needs is to learn from Europe how it was able to build a successful trade bloc. With a fully functional continental trade area, the AU will not need to request to be recognized, it will rather be a force to reckon with. Actually, we don’t need any charity from the EU.

My hope is that both sides get off the high horses and ask what would constitute a decent relationship. More than ever, Africa needs now to harness every opportunity, Africa needs the EU to be a better partner. But the EU and other developed countries continue to refuse to come through on Adaptation funding despite the large number of people suffering from climate change impacts. This is one area where a good partnership would benefit us all. Instead, you see the EU push Africa on environmental issues in ways that fail to recognize that Africa is Europe’s nearest biggest carbon sink. It would be really good to see a balanced conversation. If nothing else, let’s make trade work! Africa’s farmers should be given a chance to participate in the EU market, this would impact poverty and create millions of jobs. The Europe-Africa relationship has to be built around more equity and justice – with less of a senior-junior arrangement. Africa is not just a market for others. Once in a meeting, we were talking about trade, and I asked, “So what can we sell to you in Europe?” and the room went silent. EU and AU need to talk about equal and opposite trade based on comparative advantage.

You took on the role of Special Envoy for the UN Food System Summit two years ago, and you’re now coming up to the stocktake of progress at the end of July. What do you want to see from this, and how might it help feed into COP28?

The UNFSS was a great moment to mobilize and wake up the world to many of our challenges. The sector generates 30% of our emissions. And of course, all these emissions are part of the global total which makes it very difficult for people in my part of the world to produce food and thus they face increasing hunger. We must address Food System challenges like everything else, and wake up to the fact this sector needs to be managed to reduce emissions. A lot needs to happen in more industrial countries, which have not gone fast enough to mitigate emissions in food systems. In my part of the world, I want to see more people embrace adaptation and the associated opportunities. I want to see more local food system solutions that ensure that producers, indigenous peoples, and others are able to survive climate change and are building coping and resilience capabilities as a result of local food systems’ transformation. Lastly, I want to see us achieve some big wins for the 2030 agenda as a result of embracing food systems transformation.

What do I want to see from the Stocktake? Having a few countries step forward and be able to show significant improvements, such as strengthening resilience in food systems, with governments staying the course in transforming their systems. Hundreds of solutions were profiled in our preparations for the UNFSS. I hope that many of these have been embraced and are being implemented. A few areas have made real progress including school feeding through local procurement. This creates markets for local farmers while improving children’s nutrition. In Kenya we see far more people rebuilding soil carbon, and regenerating landscapes. I am most proud of the work done by my team at AGRA alongside NEPAD to embed food systems tracking into our continental frameworks, of CAADP and Malabo, in line with the African common position. We are working with a number of countries to design food system transformation strategies that can be showcased at the Stocktake and through to COP28. Often people say they don’t know what to do – I am hoping the work we are doing with a few countries that are taking leadership of this agenda can provide good examples of what needs to happen.

For COP28, we’ve been building momentum, especially outside the negotiations, recognizing that food systems must be part of the COP28 process. For me, we should focus on both mitigation within food systems, and remind other countries that the lack of sufficient mitigation has created a need for much more adaptation. Then there is also the question of Loss & Damage. These are complex and interrelated issues. The problem with our world is that if you don’t address a particular problem in good time, you end up with something more complex and difficult to resolve. It is much better to act early.

A clear dichotomy is often drawn between an approach to agricultural development that focuses on high external inputs, reliant on chemical fertilizer, pesticides, and hybrid seeds, and an agro-ecological approach that privileges recycling of organic matter, local seed varieties, and food sovereignty. Is this a false dichotomy? Can the two approaches be mixed and matched depending on context and geography?

This question is about what production systems work best for Africa, and what might work best for other parts of the world. It’s all about context. Within Africa, there is great diversity – there are places where it is easy to produce with minimal inputs. I live in Kenya which has some areas with deep volcanic soils, so it’s much easier to get a good crop with minimal inputs. AGRA was created in recognition that African farmers do not have access to many of the technologies available to farmers in the rest of the world. It was also in recognition that there was no simple technology fix – rather, Africa needed an institution with the capacity to work with and navigate through a succession of challenges, that it could resolve on the go. We started out thinking that providing access to hybrid seeds with good yields would be half the solution. And it did solve problems from high susceptibility to pests and diseases – just try to grow a local bean crop or local groundnut crop in the rainy season, they cannot cope with the disease pressure. AGRA funded conventional breeding by local institutions to strengthen the ability of crops to deal with some of these challenges and to reduce their susceptibility to pests and diseases. This is not “rocket science” which needs large amounts of biotech. Nowhere else in the world are farmers using traditional landraces with low yields, so why would we expect that in Africa?

On fertilizers, Africa has some of the most highly degraded soils, which have suffered from torrential rains long before climate change, which have had an impact on the soil’s structure and fertility. Chemical fertilizers introduce essential plant nutrients into the soil. Here in Africa, we are only using an average of 14kg/ha which is nothing compared to what is needed or to what Europe is using at 300kg/ha. And remember, Europe and other industrial agricultural countries have been using these levels for the last 50 years or more. Today, if a country in Europe wants to do agroecology, it makes sense. Every season of applying these nutrients to the soil has built a big and deep bank of nutrients from which one can afford to drive an organic system for some years. Organic farming mostly introduces carbon to the soil but doesn’t provide the other nutrients that are critical and often missing in African soils. So, it is wrong for people to say Africa should not use mineral fertilizers. Of course, we are concerned about the impact of mineral fertilizers on the environment, that is why we care about the level of nutrients needed in our soils in order to feed people. At no point at AGRA have we recommended that African farmers use 300kg/ha like industrial countries. We must use fertilizers appropriate to soil needs, and apply them more carefully than we have done in the past, such as through micro-dosing, to stretch farmers’ resources as far as possible, given their limited resources.

If we were to rely entirely on organic agriculture, we’d need 5 tons of organic matter to produce one ton of maize, for example, rather than 25kg of mineral fertilizer. But you must ask – where do these 5 tons of organic material come from? You’ll be eating into your biodiversity reserves to get the organic matter needed to produce the crop. Farmers in Kenya that have not had rain have nothing to make compost with! What is the dichotomy here for these farmers?

We will not go for 300kg/ha of mineral fertilizer. But neither does Europe need 300kg/ha. Africa has a recommendation of 50kg/ha and is still below half of this level. This undermines the continent’s production capacity and fosters environmental degradation. Alongside appropriate use of fertilizers, Africa needs to find ways of rebuilding its soils. What nobody can do is suggest that organic agriculture can feed Africa. We are committed to rebuilding our degraded agricultural ecosystems – we owe it to ourselves. And maybe that way we can influence rainfall patterns, water holding capacity, and ground-water levels and mitigate that drought that is coming at us. There are 101 reasons why we should be doing the right thing – for hunger, health, soils. This idea of a dichotomy is not needed. From a mitigation perspective, we are also saying to those with industrial agricultural systems – put a brake on it! You are contributing to further climate change. Let’s create a better balance between producing food for people and sustaining our environment.

Let me end by saying AGRA has moved from a focus on Green Revolution to a much broader approach to support sustainable Food Systems. We’ll be holding the annual Conference on African Food Systems (former AGRF) in Tanzania in September. We’re also re-naming AGRA to recognize that the green revolution was yesterday. Looking forward, we must transform our food systems, for people’s food, health, and the environment. And we must support heads of state to meet the commitments they have made. It’s an exciting time!

Harnessing Africa’s youth population for inclusive growth

Africa stands at a critical juncture in its history, with a rapidly growing youth population that presents both challenges and opportunities. As the continent grapples with pressing issues such as food security and economic development, it is crucial to harness the potential of this demographic dividend to achieve inclusive growth. By empowering Africa’s youth and creating an enabling environment, we can transform the continent’s food systems and unlock its economic potential.

Africa’s food systems face multifaceted challenges, including limited access to modern agricultural practices, inadequate infrastructure, and a lack of inclusive policies. However, within these challenges lie tremendous opportunities that can be achieved through investments in education, vocational training, and entrepreneurship programs tailored to the agricultural sector.

By equipping young people with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in agribusiness, they can become agents of change and innovation. Governments in collaboration with the private sector organisations and civil society, can enhance the provision of comprehensive as well as accessible education as well as training programmes that align with the needs of the labour market. By incorporating practical skills and modern agricultural techniques into the curriculum, young people can develop an appreciation of farming sustainably, market linkages, and value chain management.

Ensuring equitable access to resources is critical for inclusive growth. Financial institutions and governments should establish mechanisms that provide affordable credit and access to land for young farmers. Many young Africans face significant challenges in accessing capital due to limited collateral and financial literacy. To address this, innovative financing models, such as microfinance and blended finance initiatives, can be employed to provide young farmers with the necessary capital to start and scale their agricultural enterprises.

Furthermore, it is essential to promote sustainable agricultural practices through policies that incentivise youth-led initiatives in conservation, organic farming, and climate-smart agriculture. By incorporating environmental considerations into policy frameworks, governments can encourage young farmers to adopt sustainable practices that protect natural resources, enhance resilience to climate change, and contribute to the overall well-being of communities.

In addition to inclusive policies, participatory governance is crucial for youth engagement. Governments should actively involve young people in decision-making processes, providing platforms for their voices to be heard. Youth advisory boards, consultative forums, and mentorship programmes can facilitate dialogue between policymakers and young agripreneurs, ensuring that policies are designed and implemented in a manner that reflects their aspirations and needs.

Harnessing Africa’s youth dividend requires collaboration between governments, civil society, private sector entities, and international organisations. These stakeholders can join forces to provide mentorship, capacity-building programmes, and investment opportunities for young agripreneurs. Public-private partnerships can promote the transfer of knowledge, technology, and expertise, fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in the agricultural sector. By leveraging the strengths and resources of various actors, comprehensive support systems can be established to empower young farmers and agripreneurs.

International organisations and donor agencies also play a crucial role in supporting youth-led initiatives. By providing funding, technical assistance, and networking opportunities, they can facilitate access to resources and markets for young agripreneurs. Collaboration between African countries and international partners can also foster knowledge exchange and innovation, promoting the adoption of modern technologies and best practices across the continent.

AGRA actively contributes to harnessing the potential of Africa’s youth for inclusive growth. We invest in education and training programmes tailored to the agricultural sector, equipping young people with the necessary skills for agribusiness success. Additionally, we advocate for affordable credit and land reform policies to ensure young farmers have access to resources. By embracing digital technologies, we empower young agripreneurs to overcome barriers. AGRA’s involvement in shaping inclusive policies and fostering partnerships creates an enabling environment for youth engagement, transforming Africa’s food systems and unlocking economic potential.

One such initiative through which AGRA supports young agripreneurs is the Generation Africa programme. This AGRA-led youth partnership initiative seeks to strengthen the ecosystem for youth entrepreneurs in the agri-food sector across the continent and allows them to unlock this untapped potential. The programme also provides a platform for young entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector to showcase their innovative ideas and businesses through two competitions named the GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize and the Pitch Agrihack. Through the Generation Africa programme, youths are offered mentorship, funding opportunities, and access to networks, enabling them to further develop their ventures and contribute to sustainable agricultural development in Africa.

The programme strengthens the ecosystem that supports youth entrepreneurs in different countries by catalyzing stakeholders (government, private sector, development partners) action and strengthening youth flagship programmes through the Youth Ecosystem Development Framework (YEDF) assessments and stakeholder engagements. By connecting young agripreneurs with resources and support, AGRA, is empowering the next generation of agricultural leaders, driving economic growth, and creating a more inclusive and sustainable future for Africa.

Africa’s youth population holds immense potential to drive inclusive growth and transform the continent’s food systems. By investing in their education, facilitating access to resources, implementing inclusive policies, and fostering partnerships, Africa can empower its young population to become the driving force behind agricultural innovation and economic development. Through such efforts, Africa can secure its food future, create sustainable livelihoods, and unlock the full potential of its youth demographic dividend. It is time to embrace the power of Africa’s youth and work together towards a prosperous and inclusive future. By investing in the potential of its young people, Africa can lay the foundation for a flourishing continent that benefits all its inhabitants.


The writer, Dickson Naftali, is the Head of Generation Africa, AGRA