Recently, a three-year-old agric-technology startup acquired a sixteen-year-old agribusiness. Farmcrowdy, the pioneer of digital Agric-crowdfunding venture acquired Best Foods (L&P), an agribusiness group of over 16 years that is focused on the processing of livestock, farming, and marketing of agricultural produce. Why should you care? These words from the President of the African Development Bank will tell you why. He said and I quote, “the next generation of millionaires and billionaires in Africa will be farmers”.
Currently, more than 60 percent of the population of sub-Saharan Africa is smallholder farmers, and about 23 percent of sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP comes from agriculture. Yet, Africa’s full agricultural potential remains untapped. Keep watching to learn more interesting facts about the undeniable opportunities in agriculture across the continent; And how you can take advantage of these opportunities.
1. “the next generation of billionaires in Africa will be farmers”
Dr. Akinwumi Adesina was asked recently where the next crop of African billionaires will come from. The President of the African Development Bank, without batting an eyelid, declared that they will be farmers! He said, “By 2030, the size of the Food and Agric business in Africa will reach $1 Trillion. So, if you are thinking of how to make money, that is the sector to be in. ” He believes that agriculture will produce more millionaires and billionaires than any other sector in Africa.
When you imagine yourself 4 or 5 years after high institution, you probably never imagined achieving your financial dream through agriculture. You thought the greatest honor of going to school was to get a white-collar job, threat sick patients or defend clients in a courtroom. The mention of farming seems like what happens to people who had no other options. By now you should already know that the agric industry has come a long way. The once disregarded profession is the goldmine of today and tomorrow.
2. Demand for food will continue to soar
If current trends hold, the amount of food being grown will feed only half of the world population by 2050. These trends can be changed – and Africa is a good place to start. Given Africa’s rising income levels and rapidly growing population, demand for food will soar in the medium term, creating new growth opportunities in agriculture.
3. Africa can feed itself
In the rural village of Kura in Kano State, Nigeria, farmers would lose more than half of their tomatoes after each harvest. This is not out of carelessness. But bad roads made it difficult for them to get their tomatoes to market. Across Sub-Saharan Africa, as much as 50% of fruits and vegetables, 40% of roots and tubers, and 20% of cereals, legumes, and pulses harvested are lost before they reach a market. With expertise, knowledge and innovation on food preservation coming into the industry, Africa has the capacity to feed itself.
4. Africa has the capacity to feed the world
Can African farmers feed the world? Apparently the answer is “yes.” And this statement is based on specific facts: Africa is home to 60-65 per cent of the world’s uncultivated arable land and 10 per cent of renewable freshwater resources, and it has registered a 160 per cent increase in agricultural output over the past 30 years. In fact, the Democratic Republic of the Congo alone could feed two billion people, according to some estimates. As the global population continues to soar, to approach around 10 billion by 2050, there will be an ever-increasing demand for food and agric produce. Just like China dominated the manufacturing industry on a global scale, Africa has the resources to feed the world in the future.
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5. Agriculture is more about technology than landmass
The Netherlands is the 17th largest economy in the World. Its land area is about 41,543 square kilometres (less than double the size of Rwanda) and a population estimate of 17.4 million. Yet this country is the world’s second-largest exporter of food. In 2017, the Netherlands exported almost 92 billion dollars worth of agricultural produce.
They have been able to achieve this by relentlessly focusing on finding innovative ways to produce higher yields with fewer inputs. For example, while the global average yield of potatoes per acre is approximately 9 tons, many farms in the Netherlands produce more than 20 tons. Between 2003 and 2014, new production technology has resulted in a 28% increase in vegetable yields, a 6% reduction in energy used and a 29% reduction in fertilizer required. So agriculture is more about technology than landmass. Imagine when you have both; technology and landmass.
6. Africa is the only region yet to experience green revolution
The Green Revolution was a period when the productivity of global agriculture increased drastically as a result of new advances in research technology. During this time period, new chemical fertilizers and synthetic herbicides and pesticides were created. The Green Revolution is estimated to have saved up to one billion people from starvation.
At the time when African countries like Nigeria were to take advantage of the green revolution, the country discovered oil and abandoned its agricultural potential. Africa needs to stage its own version of The Green Revolution if it’s to help save its people from hunger.
7. Africa could be 2 to 3 times more productive than it is today
Africa’s full agricultural potential remains untapped. In a recent analysis by Mckinsey, it determined that Africa could produce two to three times more cereals and grains, which would add 20 percent more cereals and grains to the current worldwide 2.6 billion tons of output. Similar increases could be seen in the production of horticulture crops and livestock if the continent intensifies its agricultural productivity.
8. These 9 countries make up 60 percent of the total Agric potential
Analyzing productivity potential across 44 countries in sub-Saharan Africa showed that nine countries make up 60 percent of the total potential, with three countries—Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Tanzania—comprising half of that.
9. These crops have huge potential in these countries
Report by Mckinsey explores crop production and value chain opportunities and finds that three crops in three countries – namely wheat in Ethiopia, cassava in Nigeria and maize in Tanzania – have considerable investment potential. Although there are opportunities to invest in other agric produce, these are said to have the most potential in these top African countries.
10. Agric-tech has grown by 110% over 3 years
According to Disrupt Africa, agric-tech has grown by 110% since 2016, as a variety of services have sprung up at every corner of the African continent in less than a decade. These range from crowdfunding platforms for farmers like Nigeria’s Farmcrowdy, Somalia’s Ari Farm, and South Africa’s Livestock Wealth; businesses that tap into the lack of financial capital for smallholding farmers, to companies using drones for precision agriculture like South African Aerobotics and Ivorian WeFlyAgri, through solar-powered cold storages and supply chain start-ups.
Digitalization holds considerable potential to transform the food, agriculture and fisheries system in coming years. Mobile devices, data analytics, high quality satellite imagery, precision equipment, and artificial intelligence could contribute greatly to increase productivity, sustainability and resilience across the sector. Some of these technologies exist today, while others are still in early stages of development. This will mean significantly increased (public and private) investment in digital infrastructure and in education and training.
12. There Are Different Career Opportunities in Agriculture
By now you understand that there are huge career opportunities in the agric industry; and that you don’t have to own a farm to benefit from this fast-growing industry. Careers in Agriculture make up one of the largest industries and sources of long-term employment in the world, providing jobs for millions of people. Many of the careers in the Agriculture and forestry industry are considered “Green Careers,” meaning that the careers are involved in preserving or protecting our environment. Major careers include Agricultural Engineer, Food Scientist, Agricultural Manager, Agricultural Specialist, Agronomist, Botanist, Forester, Horticulturist, Data analytics and a lot more.
13. Make your money work for you without going to the farm
Organizations have innovated in this area. For example, Farmcrowdy and ThriveAgric, among many others, offer crowdfunding opportunities for anyone to invest their money in agriculture. The company then provides financial support and expertise tailored to a local farmer to increase and maximize their yield. If you don’t have the time to get into the agric industry as a career or business, you can still invest your money.
14. Women are increasingly taking up the challenge
Women make up almost 50 percent of the agricultural labour force in sub-Saharan Africa. They are also the backbone of agriculture in Africa, producing 80% of its food. With increasing support for women in agribusiness, many career women are taking their place in the agricultural value chain. While it’s not an easy journey, a good number of women are smiling to the bank, in addition to the recognition they receive.
15. There is so much room to invest
Realizing Africa’s full agricultural potential will require significant investment. Sub-Saharan Africa will need eight times more fertilizer, six times more improved seed, at least $8 billion of investment in basic storage, and as much as $65 billion in irrigation to fulfil its agricultural promise. This simply means that the industry can use a lot more money than is currently going into it. There is room for everyone to come and invest money, manpower, expertise and ideas.
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The more you understand yourself, the more silence there is, the healthier you are. —Maxime Lagacé