African Green Revolution Forum (#AGRF) underscores the need to invest in agriculture

The African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF), held in Africa for the first time, brought together 800 delegates from around the world in the Ghanaian capital, Accra.

Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan opened the event. The three day Forum included a combination of plenary sessions and smaller private meetings providing opportunities to make new, firm commitments to deliver a better food production system  and a better world for Africans.

The President of IFAD in his discussions with world leaders and delegates focused on need to see agriculture as a whole value chain not just farming and that atttractive opportunities for youth are often in villages, processing. Kofi Annan emphasized stable and predictable policies to attract investors.

Henock Kifle, IFAD's Chief Development Strategist,  highlighted the importance of good macroeconomic management in creating today's favorable investment climate in africa for all sectors but need to invest much more in infrastructure.

Mohamed Beavogui, Director of West and Central Africa, in discussing how to get more banks lending longer term to Africa described IFAD's support for innovative partnerships that connect smallholders to markets and banks and help to share risks in countries such as Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya .

Overall, strong consensus amongst political leaders, farmer orgaanizations, African companies and development institutions on need to focus on agriculture as a business, to look at full value chain, to invest in organization of smallholders, rural infrastructure and need to innovate access to finance.

A series of concrete outcomes of the AGRF, include:
  • empowerment of women throughout the agricultural chain by accelerating access to improved technology, finance and markets
  • backing for the Impact Investment Fund for African Agriculture to scale up access to finance by farmers and agri-businesses
  • investment for science, technology and research for food nutrition security
  •  accelerated access to improved seed by promoting the entire value chain, including support for plant breeding, seed companies and seed distribution systems
  • improved fertilizer supply systems and more efficient fertilizer value chains
  • more inclusive business models linking agri-business, commercial farms and smallholder farmers
  • better water management
  • mixed crop livestock systems

By Farhana Haque Rahman and Steven Schonberger