Thematic Groups AGRF 2017, Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, 4th -8th September 2017

During the meeting of the African Green Revolution Forum partners held in Nairobi, Kenya AGRA’s offices, the AGRF Partners Technical Group reiterated their collective commitment to the realization of “Malabo Commitments” to strengthen the agriculture sector in Africa, strengthen food security and improve nutrition by:

  1. Reducing Poverty by 50%
  2. Increasing youth employment in value chains by 30%
  3. Doubling agricultural productivity
  4. Increasing farmer resilience to climate change by 30%
  5. Reducing post-harvest losses by 50%; and
  6. Tripling inter-Africa trade

To support this commitment, the stakeholders of AGRF determined that they would be best able to contribute to the implementation of the Malabo Commitments by coordinating their efforts around five thematic working groups or communities of practice that represent five key pillars of African agribusiness development. This alignment also incorporates alignment with the 2013-2023 AU-NEPAD CAADP Results Framework. The five thematic working groups were conceptualized as follows:

Agriculture Infrastructure, Technology And Mechanization

Thematic Working Group Co-Chairs: AfDB & AGCO. Members:- FAO, AGRA

Dr. Moore effectively began the discussion with a power point discussion he prepared for the government of the UK that provides an overview of some of the mechanization challenges in Africa. A key point of emphasis was the work that had been done on helping farmers understand the breaking even points and acreage under mechanization that afforded sustainable investment in mechanization (see full presentation attached).
After much discussion about what an AGRF Thematic Working Group can accomplish toward the implementation.

Capacity Development, Youth And Women In Agriculture

Thematic Working Group Co-Chairs: SACAU & IDRC. Members:- AGRA, NEPAD, IITA, FARA

The AGRF Capacity Development, Youth and Women in Agriculture Thematic Working Group held its first stakeholder meetings from June 29 to July 1, 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya within the context of “Organizing for Scale and Accelerated Enterprise Development and Undertaking strategic initiatives to promote greater participation and capacity development around the engagement of Africa’s women and youth in the agriculture/ agribusiness value chain”.
In addition to the development of Thematic Working Groups (TWG’s) in support of AGRF, an effort was launched to develop communities of practice involving three key.


Thematic Working Group Co-Chairs: Grow Africa & IFAD. Members:- AFRACA, MFW4A, AGRA

Six key themes for action came out of the Finance TWG discussion:

  • Advocacy and educa,on needed – both of finance consumers and among commercial bankers so that they can understand agriculture sector lending and risk
  • Policy development is needed – to support warehouse receipt systems, lease financing, to unlock pension capital for infrastructure financing (i.e. feeder roads, rural renewable energy projects)
  • Value Chain Finance – incorpora(ng insurance, mobile finance, warehouse receipts, trade finance and mobilizing and leveraging savings

Markets, Trade And Domestic Private Sector

Thematic Working Group Co-Chairs: Rockefeller & AGRA. Members:- AU, NEPAD, AGRA

The dominant focus of the discussion remained on issues relating to domestic private sector growth and development but Co-­-Chair Anne Mbaabu raised the fact that key trade and regional integra.on issues remain a challenge to the growth potential of the domestic private sector. These include:

  • Non-­-Tariff Barriers
  • Inefficient Border Crossing Posts
  • Work Permit Restric.ons prohibility work force mobility
  • Market protection policies
  • Bilateral trade agreements with non-­-African countries/ regions (EPAs, AGOA)


Thematic Working Group Co-Chairs: AFAP & YARA. Members:- SYNGENTA, OCP, AGRA

The discussion began with an overview from AFAP’s representatives about the birth of the initiative out of CAADP and the focus and intent on strengthening the inputs delivery capacity found in Africa through the development of agro dealers, inputs traders, the improvement of inputs related infrastructure, policy advocacy initiatives, and the provision of catalytic risking instruments to increase the debt and equity capital available in select target markets to support fertilizer trade, in particular.
The African Development Bank’s representative outlined the institution’s commitment.

The Thematic Working Groups are meant to be inclusive bodies comprised of a broad range of stakeholders involved with each specific thematic pillar. Participants include: farmers’ organizations, private sector institutions, development partners, policy makers, research institutions, financial institutions, technical service providers, and civil society.

Aside from regrouping at the annual AGRF, the Thematic Working Groups meet physically once or twice during the year (at a side event of another pillar focused knowledge or industry fora where stakeholders will be likely to attend and/or independently). As needed and collectively determined, they also meet telephonically and electronically to facilitate implementation of the agreed upon initiatives that are to be pursued/ supported each year between AGRFs.

The Thematic Working Group Co-Chairs are selected from among the AGRF partners as follows:

Thematic Roundtable Co-Chair Co-Chair
Agriculture Infrastructure, Technology & Mechanization AGCO AfDB
Markets, Trade & Domestic Private Sector Rockefeller Foundation AGRA
Capacity Development, Youth and Women in Agriculture SACAU IDRC

In 2016, thematic working group meetings were organized separately over the months of January – May, and collectively in July during “AGRF TWG Week”. The inputs from these meetings helped shape and influence the overall theme and session content of AGRF 2016.

  • Infrastructure, Technology and Mechanization (alongside AGCO Africa Summit, January 2016)
  • Inputs (meeting alongside AMB Fertilizer Conference, February 2016
  • Capacity Development, Women and Youth (alongside CAADP Partnership Platform, April 2016)
  • Markets, Trade and Domestic Private Sector (alongside GROW Africa Investment Forum, May 2016)
  • Finance (not organized separately but met during AGRF TWG Week in July 2016)
Thematic Working Group Key issues Target Activities (2016 – 2018)
Inputs – Need for quality fertilizer

– Need for improved seed

– Need to strengthen and extend value chain and develop capacity of hub-agro dealers

-Support hub-agro dealer development

-Support input policy development

-Support quality testing capacity

Finance – Need for affordable finance for farmers, single digit interest rates

– Need for innovative products, insurance, guarantees

– Need for shared risk facilities

– Need to use technology to expand access through mobile banking

-Support development of lease financing

-Support development of mobile banking

-Support capital formation by farmer group through saving

Agriculture Infrastructure, Technology, and Mechanization – Need to improve rural infrastructure, feeder roads, storage facilities

– Need to leverage technology: drones, GIS, mobile telephony – for extension, market awareness, to combat climate change

– Need to affordably expand the provision of mechanization services

-Support development of mechanization services providers (hub agro dealers key target)

-Promote ICT training in agri-incubators

-Promote farmer producer group training (cooperatives) in mechanization

Trade, Markets and Domestic Private Sector – Need to promote regional trade

– Need to develop inclusive value chains

– Need to reduce post-harvest losses

– Need to promote processing and value addition

-Promote value chain development in selected sectors

-Promote engagement in existing supplier development programs

-Support post-harvest loss initiatives

Capacity Development, and Women and Youth in Agriculture – Need to advocate for inclusive procurement policies

– Need to support incubation in agriculture

– Need to support development of farmer producer groups

-Promote affirmative policy development

-Promote affirmative fund development targeting women and youth

-Promote youth enrollment in agri-incubators