The African Fertiliser and Agribusiness Partnership’s (AFAP) president and CEO, Jason Scarpone, and the organisation's vice president, Richard Mkandawire, were in attendence at the Grow Africa Agricultural Investment Forum (GAIF) in Cape Town in early May
The forum, which boasted more than 300 participants, including African heads of states, government officials and members of the private sector, engaged in a variety of interactive sessions to address opportunities, challenges and solutions to advance sustainable agricultural transformation in African agriculture.
“This forum set up a much needed platform for strategic communication between the public and the private sectors of different African countries,” Mkandawire said, adding that such opportunities were hard to come by.
“Highlighted at the forum was the growing importance of private sector engagement in the agricultural sector,” said Mkandawire.
“Private sector members who attended where enticed to investment opportunities in their respective countries.”
At the forefront of conversations was the potential of African agriculture to strengthen food security for the continent and the economic opportunities it presents. Speakers noted that an enabling business environment and greater private-sector investments was needed to realise Africa’s potential to feed the world.
The role of fertiliser was highlighted in conversations about refining the agricultural sector in Africa.
In 2012, Grow Africa partners mobilised more than US$3.5bn in new investment commitments, which have to date engaged more than 800,000 farmers across eight African countries, with US$300mn in sales from the farmers fed into the market system.
"By the end of the forum, there was a general consensus that with more private sector intervention, smallholder farmers will be able to contribute to the African Green Revolution, capable of feeding itself," Mkandawire added.