Tag Archives: Technology

SWOT Analysis of the African Agriculture

A very comprehensive and realistic SWOT Analysis has been carried out and published by the Montlpellier Panel, a group of reputed experts on agriculture, trade, sustainability and global development. The Panel is working together to make recommendations to enable better European government support of national and regional agricultural development and food security priorities in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Let´s have a look to their findings:

Strengths:

  • The diversity of African agricultural ecosystems furnishes resilience although this heterogeneity also requires sophisticated and nuanced management
  • Smallholder agriculture can be highly efficient producing five or more tons of grain per hectare with appropriate inputs and management
  • Farm-level production costs in Africa are often relatively low
  • There is a strong tradition of village-level farmer associations providing a basis for growth and innovation
  • Acceleration in GDP growth in SSA has been, in part, driven by faster agricultural growth
  • More organized and concerted African leadership through CAADP
  • Foreign direct investment (FDI) in the continent increased from US$2.4 billion in 1985 to US$55 billion in 2010 although most of this was in the oil and gas sectors

Weaknesses:

• A lack of coherent, cross-ministerial policies and leadership on agriculture

• Poor incentives for small business investment

• Access to input and output markets is often weak

• Average cereal yields are only one ton per hectare

• The predominant rainfed agriculture is vulnerable to unreliable and unpredictable rainfall

• Total agricultural R&D spending in Africa grew at only 1.9% between 2000 and 2008, although there is wide variability between countries

• African soils are heavily degraded and depleted of nutrients

• Tenure over more than 90% of land remains outside the formal legal system in Africa and is therefore at risk of dispossession.

• Agricultural mechanisation is poorly developed

Opportunities:

  • There is a large agricultural workforce: 65% of Africa’s population lives and works in rural areas
  • The workforce will be predominantly young: by 2040, one in five of the world’s young people will live in Africa
  • Large opportunities to improve yields through increasing fertilizer application rates and irrigating more land
  • Fertilisers are applied at average rates of about 11kg/ ha of arable land (compared to 154kg
    ha in India and 468kg/ha in China). There is a huge potential to use local African sources of rock phosphate fertilizer at affordable costs
  • Only around 4% of cultivated land in SSA is irrigated. Potentially over 20 million hectares of land under irrigation
  • Already in motion are agricultural growth corridor projects in areas with high agricultural potential that will stimulate investment and develop regional value chains
  • Mobile and internet connectivity is growing rapidly: mobile phone subscribers have risen from less than two million in 1998 to over 400 million in 2009 and internet users in SSA between 2005 and 2010 grew by almost 430%

Threats:

  • 80% of all African farms (33 million farms) are less than two hectares in size, which can increase transaction costs
  • The success of investments in agriculture depends on the engagement of women who make up 50% of the agricultural labour force and have relatively poor access to resources and services
  • SSA has many pests, diseases and weeds such as Striga, Black Sigatoka, Banana wilt, Cassava mosaic virus, Maize leaf streak, Maruca beetles, stem borers, downy mildew and locusts that are capable of destroying harvests
  • SSA farmers face the lowest agricultural incentives in the world
  • Three quarters of African countries are net importers of agricultural products and African trade tariffs are on average 50% higher than comparable tariffs in Latin America and Asia
  • Climate change is likely to reduce crop yields across much of SSA

Definitely, any plan to tackle the problem of food production in Africa cannot be simplistic, but to include actions from a very broad number of areas simultaneously. However, I would like to highlight a very clear conclusion derived from this analysis -in alignment with other similar reports-, and this is how important is for the future of a successful growth of agriculture in Africa the extensive implementation of those technologies of irrigation, crop protection and climate control, like greenhouses, which could be denominated as “modern” in the african context, though are long time existing in other parts of the world.

We don´t have to invent the wheel, we don´t have to test, but simply to transfer technology and know-how that are easily available and which results are predictably.

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Introducing AGROLUTION solutions for Africa

This is the video launched by AGROLUTION http://www.agrolution.com to introduce the range of services that provides for the development of agribusiness in Africa.

Information Technology and Rural Development. Interesting case in Kenya.

Hello, I´m going to show you today a very interesting initiative set up in Kenya, where basic economic principles in alliance with basic ICT (information and communication technology)  are providing a highly valuable and useful service for small farmers disseminated all over Kenya, and now extending to other neighboring countries.

KACE (Kenya Agricultural Commodity Exchange) has developed a marketing information and linkage system (MILS) designed to facilitate competitive and efficient trade in agricultural commodities and services in Kenya, with the aim and potential for scaling out in the East African Community region. Through MILS, KACE collects, updates, analyses and provides reliable and timely marketing information and intelligence on a wide range of crop and livestock commodities, targeting actors in commodity value chains, with particular attention to smallholder farmers and small scale agribusinesses.
The information includes daily wholesale buying prices for various crop and livestock products in selected main markets in the country, as well as commodity offers to sell and bids to buy. KACE also links farmers and agribusinesses to markets through matching commodity offers and bids. Market information enhances the bargaining power of the farmer for a better price in the market place, and helps to link the farmer to input and output markets more efficiently and profitably.
As simple as that… Well, with the help of two easily accessible communication instruments: FM radio and SMS on mobile phones.
Soko Hewani involves using a radio programme to match offers to sell or lease, or bids to buy or rent agricultural and any other commodities, properties and services compiled by the KACE.Target agricultural commodities include maize, rice, wheat, millet, sorghum, beans, tomatoes, cabbages, onions, carrots, fruits, potatoes, bananas, cattle, sheep, goats, camels, chicken, turkeys, eggs, milk, fish, honey, seeds and fertilizers. Target properties include houses, offices, vehicles and land. Target services include processing, packaging, transport for commodities, storage / warehousing, grading, quality testing and finance.
The SMS service applies mobile telephony for market information delivery to users.  The market information currently available includes daily wholesale buying prices for about 20 commodities, as well as offers to sell and bids to buy. Farmers, agribusinesses and other interested users who are mobile phone network subscribers download KACE market information as SMS messages.
To know more about this very intelligent strategy watch the attached video or visit KACE website:  http://www.kacekenya.co.ke.

Congratulations for so much wise initiative.

WELCOME !!

It´s a enormous pleasure to welcome you to the Innovating Agribusiness Blog.

This, the first post, it´s obviously dedicated to the introduction of myself and the blog.

My name is José María Montalbán, though I thought that using a nick name could ease interaction with followers. Yes, my real name is a bit too long and complex. In some situations, when giving it to someone, I got back: “Sorry, did you say Mon-Taleban?”.

That´s why I chose Jose Monty as my public name.

I´m a spanish Agronomy Engineer, consultant and entrepeneur in Agribusiness, this is, anything related to businesses involved within the food and agricultural industry. More specifically, my 20 years of experience now, have run around the fresh fruits and vegetable sector and the modern horticulture.

Along all this time I had the opportunity to attend both, technical and managerial positions, in some reputed companies, and afterwards, work as a freelance consultant. This helped me to build a very broad vision and understanding of the complexities of this exciting business.

Moreover, I was lucky to have the chance of doing all this in an International environment, which makes it more enriching, professionally speaking. Lately, my experience have become specialized in the Arab Gulf region, where I discovered the huge potencial for the fresh produce industry, despite the apparently harsh conditions of Nature there. For that reason, I´m currently undertaking some investments and business ventures in the region.

My latest business project, AGROLUTION, is a company with the misión to serve all people, businesses and insitutions linked to the Fresh Produce World, by providing all kinds of Solutions, being these either goods or services. Agrolution is open to the world and specially to places most needed of support and assistance in the fostering of agriculture and food production, like extreme climate areas and developing countries.

So, around all that matter, I shall ellaborate content and collect information to be published in this blog, with the aim to make it useful and available to as many people as possible.

To make it even more valuable, you will also find here contributions of other experts and collaborators.

If you are a farmer, student, teacher, investor, businessman, official, trader, scientist, NGO, association, or any other agent type involved in Agribusiness, just follow this blog to obtain valuable information of your interest.

Thanks in advance for following.

See you soon !!