Yet another month has whizzed by (we’re already almost a third of the way through 2013!) and for our April issue we’ve decided to dig into the world of agriculture. We realised on a high level that agriculture was a large sector for many countries across the continent. But when it came to getting into the nitty gritty of things, it quickly became evident the agribusiness sector in Africa was a massive machine with the potential to generate a tremendous amount (sustainably, mind you) but it had several gears and switches in need of upgrade.
That’s not to say that some countries in Africa haven’t been doing exceptionally well. If you look at our profile on Zambeef, you’ll see how one company with 20 years of experience in Zambia has helped the country become self-sufficient in key products like maize, milk and wheat and is now moving into Nigeria to replicate the Zambian growth model.
However a common theme that emerged through interview after interview was the idea that there’s an almost detrimental lack of information for African farmers and that plays into several factors: lack of knowledge towards new technologies and fertilisers, lack of access to proper infrastructure to protect harvests from disease and spoil and a lack of information on how to produce more efficiently or how to sell commodities at the best prices.
Our cover story this month talks to a roundtable of experts who share their insights on where Africa’s challenges lie within the agriculture sector, and how to get past that – with real life examples related to knowledge transference and technological upgrades – to fulfill the World Bank’s colossal prediction that Africa’s agricultural sector could become a US$1 trillion industry in under two decades. Would you put money on that?
Speaking of technology, we also outline seven of the hottest apps being used my farmers today, created by Africans, for Africans. Our columnists, Marc Mcilhone and Sean Rogers, also share their insights into how insects can be a boon or detriment to the business of farming, as well as taking on that touchy subject of land acquisitions and how it affects local communities.
We invite you to engage with our conversations online on Twitter (@AfricanBJournal) or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you know of an interesting initiative in Africa, a notable member of the business community we should highlight, or a company that deserves notice, please reach out. We want to tell your stories because knowledge shared is knowledge gained.
I hope you enjoy this issue,