Vice President, Programme Development and Innovation of Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Dr. Joe DeVries has reiterated the plight of the African farmer. According to him, African farmers do a lot but receive very little at the end of the day “What we suffer from Africa is low productivity, our farmers are doing the hard work but they are getting low yields” he said.
DeVries said the aim of AGRA is to see farmers increase their yields and be able to sell their surplus and feed other people who are not farmers. According to him, for Africa to be food secured, it majorly depends on the seed sector and therefore, AGRA wants to make sure the farmer has access to potentially viable seeds to increase their yields.
“We are working with private sector all over the continent to develop new varieties and then sell them to farmers through private entrepreneurs” he noted.
He said, AGRA is offering capital to commercial seed companies who are starting up within the first two years. Explaining how different the AGRA seeds are from genetically modified foods, he said AGRA is not trading that in Africa because most African governments have not embraced the technology so far. “Most of these government are now testing it up, which is a good idea, we do not want to force it” he said.
Joe DeVries was speaking at the 2018 club 10K seed companies’ convening themed “Cracking the early generation seed code: sustainable solutions for supply of breeder and foundation seed in Africa”. The 2-day meeting, brought together 80 private seed companies who are capable of multiplying seeds and selling them to local farmers in their home countries.