Agripen July 2018

Agripen July 2018

Achieving equitable agriculture trade for Africa

Despite some cyclical challenges that could impact commodity prices, the investment case for agriculture in Africa remains strong. This was one of the main messages that emerged during the 12 th Agribusiness Africa Conference, which was recently hosted by Farmer’s Weekly at Emperors Palace in Johannesburg. According to Chris Potgieter, head of private client securities at Old Mutual Wealth, who was one of the speakers at the conference, demand for food products would continue to increase globally due to population growth and the higher calorie intake of the growing middle class.

Strong demand, coupled with supply constraints that were likely to occur due to the limited availability of resources such as land and water, meant that, on macro level, the investment outlook for agriculture was optimistic, he said. “Innovation will equip agriculture to cope with the competing challenges of addressing food and nutrition security, improving livelihoods, combating climate change and sustainably managing natural resources. There will be a way to feed the world and money will be made by investors who are able to select the right investments,” he added. In her opening address, Denene Erasmus,

Farmer’s Weekly editor, said that she was pleased by the high number of international delegates at the conference, given that many of the solutions needed to grow agriculture Africa is the second most unequal continent in the world after Latin America, Erasmus said. “While Africa’s first challenge might be to improve economic growth, the second and perhaps greater challenge, given high levels of income inequality, will be to make sure growth is equitable, and that there is wide distribution of wealth that will reduce poverty and create jobs.” Referring to this year’s conference theme ‘Partnerships for equitable trade’,

Erasmus said it was important that as agricultural trade continued to become ever more globalised, Africa’s farmers were given a fair chance to join global value chains. “Not only will this require the upgrading of existing, and establishment of new, agricultural supply chains, there will have to be investment in infrastructure, [and] corporations will have to invest in the type of research and development that will be useful and beneficial to Africa’s farmers. None of this will be easy, and it will require the right kind of leadership and effective partnerships between government, farmers and private sector investors and corporations.”

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