The African Farmers Stories – Unlocking the Food Supply Chain amidst Covid19 – Report: Article attached.

The African Farmers Stories – Unlocking the Food Supply Chain amidst Covid19

Here is a Report of the Key Highlights from The African Farmers Stories – Unlocking the Food Supply Chain amidst Covid19 webinar organised by Support4AfricaSMEs on 17th June 2020.  The panel of expert speakers addressed: The role of Farmers; Digital Technology; Financing Models and Policies for Unlocking the Food Supply Chain. You can download the full REPORT HERE.

The African Farmers Stories – Unlocking the Food Supply Chain was the first digital convening organised by the volunteer team of Support4AfricaSMEs. The response to the panel discussion was incredible with over 2 million impressions, over 139,000 interactions recorded. 1,112 people registered for the session, 74% from the agricultural sector and the rest from other sectors including finance, health, and media.

Across Africa, during this pandemic we have witnessed how the African Farmers have seen the total breakdown of the food supply chain, the waste of food at the farm gate and shortage of food at the consumers end, and fear “hunger virus” spreading as the result of this pandemic in Africa.

Through interviews with African smallholder farmers, over the past two months, Support4AfricaSMEs campaign has highlighted The African Farmers Stories amidst covid19. Amongst them was the stories of the Pig Farmers, filmed by Shola Anmashaun, an award-winning Nigerian photographer, who discovered that thousands of pigs had died of swine fever during the lockdown in Nigeria. He found many of the pig farmers had committed suicide, others had themselves succumbed to the disease while many were now too sick to continue working. The campaign has supported his brave reporting through social media and the story has been picked up by the Associated press, the BBC, Al Jazeera amongst others.

Here are some of the Key Takeaways from Unlocking the Food Supply Chain – Panel Discussion REPORT:

  1. The role of farmers:
    1. African governments must prioritise fixing community access roads, and establishing storage facilities and warehouses to better help farmers deliver food to urban markets – Joel Cherop, Farmer, Uganda
    1. Farmers must look out for companies who are willing and able to help, not just with funds and funding schemes, but also in being open to new inventions and using newer technological models Thomas Ogundiran, MD, Big Dutchman, West Africa
  • Financing Agribusiness:
    • Any financial model for agribusiness must include risk assessment and mitigation components.
    • Smallholder farmers who cannot afford collateral can go through farmer-based organisations, nuclear farmer networks or aggregators, or can connect to more established agribusinesses within its network to receive funds through For-Benefit-Of accounts.
    • Lending to African smallholder farmers must be cash-flow based, with several different specialists along the broken-down value chain working together.
  • Digital market access:
    • Market access is essential to agriculture and African farmers must understand that marketing is part of agribusiness and warrants inclusion in their business budget. Digital market platforms should be easy for farmers to find via a simple web search. Mike Dola, Founder, Cokodeal, Kenya
    • Helpline models can be established by digital marketplace providers to receive calls from farmers who have produce that they cannot clear and connect them with buyers in proximity to their farmsDiana Sabrain, Co-Founder OneAgrix, Singapore
  • Government policies:
    • African governments must implement policies that address issues such as models of agricultural development, land reforms, budgetary expenditure on agriculture, foreign exchange models, rule of law, the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, climate change policies, data and statistics generated within Africa, security, and long-term agricultural development plans.
    • Public-Private Partnership arrangements (PPP) are necessary frameworks to develop agricultural sector in Africa; governments must invest in key infrastructure and create an enabling environment to stimulate investment, and the private sector players leverage on these to build their businesses Chikaodili Okeke, Founder, Feed Africa Advocacy Network (FAAN), UK

You can watch and share The African Farmer’s Stories on Support4AfricaSMEs You Tube and help make the voices and struggles of these invaluable farmers heard as they navigate the pandemic. Supprt4AfricaSMEs continues to showcase the African Farmers and African SMEs, create investment opportunities, access to markets, facilitate B2B linkages for them, and advocate for them to be placed at the heart of Africa’s economic re-emergence.

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