Turning African Agriculture into a Business

A Reader

OECD Development Centre

African agriculture is a sleeping giant. Agribusiness remains in its infancy in most sub-Saharan African countries. Many of them now pay higher prices for imported food products and struggle to keep inflationary pressures under control. Given the strong long-term prospect for world food prices, increasing the productivity of food crops becomes a top priority. It requires sizeable investments in irrigation, storage, transport infrastructure and logistics, as well as better access to markets for inputs (fertilizers, seeds, planting materials and credit).

While successful contract-farming schemes exist for export crops, they remain rare for food crops. Greater involvement of the private sector in designing and implementing such food-crop commercialisation programmes could develop viable local food industries. Existing international financing facilities such as the Enhanced Private Sector Assistance (EPSA) for Africa should get full use. Whether Africa can unleash the potential of commercial agriculture in the coming decades also depends in no small part on the continuous and effective support of the international development community.

The findings summarised in this volume can serve as building blocks for further international discussions on fostering agro-based private-sector development and lifting smallholders out of poverty.

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