In Africa the agricultural sector is dominated by smallholder farmers. According to the IFAD [ International Fund for Agricultural Development] there are an estimated 500 million smallholder farmers in Africa , providing almost 80% of the food consumed and supporting up to 2 billion people financially.
According to a 2017 report by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), the continent’s food system requires an agricultural transformation that is focused on more than just agricultural production and encompasses the entire food system.
The report further points to promoting the growth of small scale famers and SMBs involved in Africa agro supply chains, and providing help to smallholder farmers that have viable agribusiness ventures that are scalable.
After decades of neglect, agriculture is again receiving attention from African governments, investors, and other partners, but their attention should extend to agribusiness.
The attention focused on production agriculture will not achieve its developmental goals in isolation from agribusinesses, ranging from small and medium enterprises to multinational companies.[World Bank,2013]
The challenge is thus threefold:
(1) Develop downstream agribusiness activities (such as processing) as well as upstream activities (such as supplying inputs),
(2) Develop commercial agriculture, and
(3) Support and link smallholders and small enterprises to productive value chains[World Bank,2013]
Agribusiness service agents such as Mkulima Online offer agri ventures and farmers an online link on which they market their produce and services.
The need for agribusiness accelerators and agents offering links to the market and to vital services in the agricultural sector is essential for inclusive agricultural development in Africa.
In Kenya, food consumption is outpacing food production. According to a new Institute for Security Studies report, annual agricultural production will need to increase by an estimated 75% from 2015 levels in order to meet consumption in 2030.[ISS Today]
Africa’s young and growing population has an enormous potential to feed itself and use farming as a commercial activity towards self empowerment and social well being.