April 19, 2018

20/04/2018: Agribusiness in Africa: The future was yesterday

by Olumide Famakinwa, Agribusiness Development Practitioner/CEO, Firstling, Lagos, Nigeria

More than 60 percent of Africa is arable land and there are more than 35 million small farmers, Africa produces just three percent of the world’s rice and wheat, and 10 percent of the world’s maize.

Agribusiness is simply the business of agricultural production. Agribusiness touches on health, nutrition, safety, science and environment, however due to more efficient operating practices, new technologies, increased level of partnership and collaboration across the supply chain, the future for the industry is very attractive and still emerging.

Clich├ęs describing agribusiness are quite valid from the farm to the fork, soil to the skin, seed to feed, ground to grub, from the earth to the edible, all give credence to the detailed and concise process of the value chain and end to end processes.

Key trends shaping agribusiness are the needs for more food, biofuels, raising importance of environmental sustainability, continued food price volatility and globalisation.

The catchphrase ‘The Future was Yesterday’ highlights the pragmatic and cautious need to fast track the process of agribusiness transformation and industrialisation in Africa considering the empirical evidence that the developed countries of the world have attained monumental heights and are just consolidating on the gains of a mature and structured market.

Presently the developed countries have moved the agribusiness industry platform to the heart of digitalisation, digitalisation is not only widening access to markets and improving efficiencies but it also increasing transparency in terms of costs of production, added value, location, tracking and cost of shipments. In simple words the future of agribusiness is going digital all the way and Africa must meander through the murky waters of the past and present to appropriately direct the future.

Technology is playing a huge role in the transformation of agricultural supply chains. The deep roots and contemplation of the main theme of this article is extracted from the historicity of the industrial revolution sandwiched in between the preceding agricultural revolution and post information technology revolution.

The industrial revolution reflects our challenges as a continent in terms of scale and scope of transformation, which would involve all stakeholders of the polity, from the public and private sectors to academia and civil society. How integrated and comprehensive is our response to the process of agribusiness industrialisation? It has been agonisingly slow and the methodology seems regressive in planning, implementation and control based on impact and results.

Read the full article, HERE.

The Global Miller
This blog is maintained by The Global Miller staff and is supported by the magazine Milling and Grain
which is published by Perendale Publishers Limited.

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