Knowledge Hub

The AGRF 2021 Summit kicked off on Tuesday 7 September 2021. This year’s theme was “Pathways to recovery and resilient food systems.” Fund Program Coordinator Ashini Patel, participated as a panellist in an AGRF session held on Wednesday 8 September titled “Rural and Market Development.” Ashini was among four other panellists that gave insightful information around the topic on Strengthening Agricultural Value Chain Systems. 

HIGHLIGHTS

During the discussion, Ashini highlighted that in order to effectively deploy agricultural innovations to build more resilient agriculture value chains, technology needs to be leveraged to continue to reach and engage with smallholder farmers. She gave examples of how some Fund participants have leveraged innovative technology solutions, including the development of digital products through low-cost digital platforms such as mobile banking, and collecting data using satellite data and machine learning technology to provide customised input packages to smallholder farmers. Fund participants, she noted are also leveraging the power of technology to provide online trainings and disseminate useful information relating to financial inclusion, good agricultural practices, weather, and even health.

Ashini went on to note that beyond the application of technology, Fund participants are inherently part of the agribusiness value chain supporting smallholder farmers with access to finance, agricultural advice and offtake so as to feed Africa’s growing population. So far, Ashini noted that the Fund has reached over 5 million beneficiaries in Sub-Saharan Africa from an initial target of 1 million. She mentioned that the Fund has also supported participants through capacity building which is an important component of strengthening the agribusiness value chain. Overall, Fund-supported projects have provided training and capacity building to over 320,000 beneficiaries as of June 2021.

Ashini went on to indicate that through their innovative business models, participants are providing beneficiaries more financial freedom through various measures such as input financing to pay for a range of commodities or by bundling credit with insurance products, cushioning smallholder farmers against recent shocks in Sub-Saharan Africa such as the Covid-19 pandemic, locust invasions, floods and droughts.

The session moderator closed the session by stating that the need for strategic and collaborative partnerships have been highlighted that will also build pathways to recovery and resilient food systems in Africa.  

The AGRF 2021 Summit provided an opportunity for the Fund to raise awareness on how its portfolio is supporting and strengthening the agribusiness value chain and delivering financial inclusion to support productivity and resilience among smallholder farmers. 

Ashini FRP 4.jpg

LINKS

To listen to the AGRF session recording, please click here

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