“We can’t talk about the farmers and agribusinesses both small and large, we must talk WITH them. Development can only happen through true partnerships.” – Dr. Stefan Schmitz, Head of Rural Development and Food Security, BMZ, Germany
Speakers at the conference emphasised that agribusiness in Africa needs to match Africa’s needs, with value chains that go downstream to have a real impact on the smallholder farmers, particularly their access to inputs and markets. On the other hand, private sector actors face challenges in Africa because the majority of agricultural activity is in the form of small-scale farming and therefore adds to the risk of investing into agriculture.
As such, having strong coordination between various sectors, even those beyond agriculture is important. Collaboration among different areas - e.g. water, infrastructure such as ports and roads, trade - needs to be structured. Political and financial support to make this possible is critical for creating a conducive environment to draw in the private sector.