Sep 7, 2021 | Blog

Achieving Equitable & Inclusive Livelihoods

The Poverty, inequality, and power imbalances at household, community, national and global levels are a major constraint to the attainment of sustainable food systems. More than 700 million people, or 10 per cent of the world population, still live in extreme poverty. Many people living on less than $1.90 a day live in sub-Saharan Africa and the COVID-19 crisis risks reversing decades of progress in the fight against poverty. The world is clearly off track, when it comes to the 2030 targets of eradicating extreme poverty for all people everywhere.

This is the discussion brief that kicked off the equitable and inclusive livelihoods plenary session moderated by Ms. Nozipho Tshabalala CEO, The Conversation Strategist. Nozipho who passed the mantle to Prof. Hamadi Boga-Principal Secretary, State Department for Agricultural Research in the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation, Kenya. Professor Hamadi profiled key milestones alongside the challenges in policy made in agriculture in Kenya by stating, ”Kenyan policies in agriculture recognize that we have smallholder farmers who are still very poor, women are equally not adequately involved however noting this we ensure that we do not exclude anyone in dialogue and policy regulation.”

The fireside chat included contributions from Ms. Michelle Nunn Chairperson, UNFSS Action Track 4, Advance Equitable Livelihoods, & President and CEO, CARE USA contribute. She cited that she doesn’t think that we are on the right trajectory to achieving the SDGs, adding, “we need political will and investment of resources that are not currently available in society.”

“We are supporting all efforts to food systems transformation and in Africa for example, we are deeply committed to consumers. Producers however have a heavy task in transforming agriculture and it takes heavy investments even in the wealthiest parts of the world,” said Mark Schneider, CEO, Nestlé. This was in response to what roles the private sector plays in achieving equitable and inclusive livelihoods.

Dr. Susan Chomba Director, Vital Landscapes, World Resources Institute (WRI) Africa also contributed by listing the key levers of change. “I will state four levers of change starting with Innovation, with a focus on improving smallholder farmer production, the second lever is Human Rights, are people accessing food in a way that respects Human Rights?”  She went on to state that the third lever is on finance which needs to be nature positive and accessible to women. To finalize she stated the fourth lever was gender equality and women empowerment, calling on the fact that we cannot leave women behind.

Next was a panel discussion that invited key panellists from the private and development sector to discuss further. Mr. Vimal Shah- Co-Founder and Chairman of Bidco Africa representing the private sector indicated, “Africa Continental Free Trade Area agreement is an opportunity to tap into if well implemented in the continent.”

Prof. Kevin Urama, African Development Institute, African Development Bank Group added that there are very deliberate efforts in various programs within Africa Development Bank that puts women and Youth at the core of agriculture. This primarily encompasses providing financing and for the youth incubation for innovative ideas to boost creativity and interest in agriculture.

“Countries should find ways to incentivize SMEs in agriculture, while partnering with smallholder farmers and also being sensitive to cultural practices,” said Ms. Blayne Tesfaye, Co-founder and CEO TruLuv.

On came the last plenary session where Mr. Stephen Jackson, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Kenya brought in passionate and insightful sentiments from Kenya. “Kenya is a beautiful paradox, it is a success story in agriculture despite having loads of drought/flood-affected areas. We have best practice of putting together private-public sector partnerships which have put actionable legislations and I am very optimistic,” he said.

To finalize with a punch, Prof. Sheryl Hendriks, Professor and Head of Department, University of Pretoria stated, “the era of cheap food is way gone.”

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AGRF Agribusiness Dealroom officially launched

Agripreneurs and investors can now engage in the 2021 Agribusiness Dealroom after its official launch on Day 1 of the AGRF Summit in Nairobi, Kenya on Tuesday September 7, 2021.

The Dealroom provides businesses in the agriculture and food value chains with an opportunity to access finance, mentorship, and market entry solutions to support their growth objectives. It also creates opportunities for governments to present investment opportunities, and incentives for different investors.

These objectives are achieved through partnerships in project preparation, pipeline development, project bankability, investment promotion, and by enabling policy environment. 

Participants in the Dealroom also explore trade deals and partnership opportunities that enhance sourcing from African smallholder farmers.

This year’s Dealroom was unveiled at a ceremony that brought together panellists from governments, the private sector and development organizations to discuss the investment opportunities arising from the continent’s pursuit of food systems transformation.

The session began with representatives from Kenya’s national and county governments, who presented the investment opportunities available in the country’s agriculture and food sectors.

Thule Lenneiye, the coordinator for agricultural transformation in Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture, gave a presentation that highlighted new opportunities emerging from the Government of Kenya’s new projects, including an agri-processing hub planned for development in Naivasha, some 100km northwest of the country’s capital.   

“The government of Kenya is developing a USD55 million agri-processing hub with an annual output capacity of 320k tons, and which is set to create 27,455 jobs,” she said.

Fellow speaker Hon. James Nyoro, the governor of Kiambu County, made a case for partnerships between governments, development partners and the private sector, citing the success of a project by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) that helped transform extension support in the region.

“I am happy that AGRA has been working with us to introduce a Village-based Advisor (VBA) model in Kiambu County that has helped increase the availability of extension services to our farmers – we now have 1200 VBAs serving farmers in Kiambu county,” he said.

In the second half of the session, Sean de Cleene, Member of the World Economic Forum’s Executive Committee, and Vanessa Adams, AGRA’s Vice President, Strategic Partnerships & Chief of Party, moderated fireside chats and panel discussions that covered varied topics, including the role of private sector investment in driving inclusive agricultural transformation.

In the conversations, the Dealroom was hailed as the best platform to initiate partnerships that would deliver food security and increased household incomes in Africa.

“The Dealroom provides the tools that SMEs need to facilitate business connections and increase access to finance” – said Mark Meassick, the Mission Director at USAID-Kenya.

The Dealroom will remain active in the entire duration of the AGRF 2021 Summit, which ends on Friday, September 10, 2021. Interactions made at the Dealroom could, however, extend beyond the Summit.