September 11, 2017

Farmers are crucial for Africa’s path to prosperity

Sub-Saharan Agriculture can be a $1 trillion sector within 15 years if farmers get the right tools, Yara’s CEO told Africa’s top agricultural gathering, AGRF, in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
Svein Tore Holsether at AGRF 2017
Svein Tore Holsether at AGRF 2017

“The transformation of Africa’s agriculture sector is now underway and there is great potential to produce more food on less land, feeding more people,” Svein Tore Holsether told the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF), an annual gathering where political and business leaders discuss African agriculture and development.

For this to happen, the continent needs to improve its infrastructure, allowing for a better functioning supply-chains and better access to markets. Agronomic knowledge needs to be shared more widely and new technologies must be applied. Access to financing and foreign investments are also key to boost Africa’s agricultural sector, which requires the presence of a predictable legal and regulatory framework.

AGRF provides a platform for global and African leaders to develop actionable plans that will move African agriculture forward. The gathering discusses the progress in Africa’s agricultural transformation agenda and aims at scale up political, policy and financial commitments needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“Agriculture has long seen as an underperforming sector in Africa but over the past 10 years been recognized as the sector most capable of providing both sustained economic growth and social inclusion on the African continent,” Svein Tore told more than 750 delegates and high-level dignitaries, including ministers and key stakeholders in the agricultural sector.

By 2050, Africa will be home to one-fifth of the world’s population. This rapid growth, present significant challenges for food security, peace and stability – as well as economic opportunities in the region.

“Improved market access, as well as the means and inputs to improve yields can have a profound impact on global food security and help achieve the UN Global Goal of reaching zero hunger by 2030,” Yara’s CEO said. “We believe in the African food and agriculture sector and we believe that the right investments will create opportunities for inclusive, sustainable growth,” he added.

“Agriculture and agribusiness could be a $1 billion sector in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2030.”

Svein Tore Holsether highlighted Farm to Market Alliance as one example of how Yara together with partners aims to develop the African agriculture sector. The Farm to Market Alliance is a public-private sector led consortium of organizations seeking to transform food value chains in emerging markets. The aim is to actively engage smallholders, increase their productivity, profitability and resilience and their strength as reliable market players.

“We have joined the Farm to Market Alliance to unlock new opportunities for smallholder farmers,” said Yara’s CEO. “Together our aim is to reach more than 1 million farmers.”

Svein Tore Holsether ended his address by encouraging a collaborative approach to support African farmers on their journey to prosperity.

“We now need to work together to share and apply our knowledge and make investments possible so that we can realize the potential, he said.