Africa Agribusiness Academy (AAA) Growing Agripreneurs for Sustainable Food Security

Agripreneurship refers to entrepreneurship in agriculture. Entrepreneurship is a concept that encompasses transforming an idea or vision into a “new business or new venture creation, or the expansion of an existing business, by an individual, a group, or an established business.” Agricultural companies increasingly have to adapt to the notions of the market, changing consumer habits, enhanced environmental regulations, new requirements for product quality, chain management, food safety, sustainability, and so on. These changes have cleared the way for new entrants, innovation, and portfolio entrepreneurship.

Talk of agribusiness and every head turns, food security in Africa, the raised eyebrows should be shut by the goals that we really want to achieve. Agribusiness should not be viewed as the inn trend but an entrepreneurship. A serious entrepreneur need to know what will make him money and after what span. What doesn’t require so much time, isn’t labour intensive, maybe costs to entry are low are some of the things one considers before choosing an agribusiness venture.

Agripreneurship is an employment strategy that can lead to economic self-sufficiency of rural people. That’s why Africa Agribusiness Academy (AAA) has embarked on Agripreneurship development through mentorship and Coaching, B2B networking sessions, opportunities to visit well-known companies, vibrant platform for learning as key elements for the promotion of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). These can result in improved performance of an individual that can contribute to employment generation, poverty reduction and human resource development.

The Academy sees strengthening of entrepreneurship in agribusiness as the key to successful agricultural growth and rural development. The Academy embraces the approach that is driven by the private sector and brings together a core group of successful Africa agri-food entrepreneurs who provide role models for a new generation of (mainly young men & women) entrepreneurs. These models create a momentum for other daring entrepreneurs willing to take risks and trigger a self-sustained process of market driven entrepreneurship in Africa. The main deliverable is a vibrant platform for small and medium agribusiness enterprises that meet each other and engage other value chain actors (farmers, buyers, exporters, traders, policy experts, standardization bodies) in order to learn and get involved in new business opportunities.

In a recent fact-based Action Research carried out in 5 countries of KE, UG, RW, ETH and TZ) that aimed at gaining better insights on the effect and impact of agri-based SME growth on development of smallholders, the main conclusion was that SMEs growth stimulates growth of smallholder farmers. SMEs subsequently trigger emergence of larger emerging farmers by providing services and investment in their farm production. Moreover, SMEs act as key conduits to local, regional and international markets for farmers’ produce through various kinds of processing. The results also showed that there is increased farmers’ income and income per unit land indicating enhanced business orientation and productivity. In addition, farmers progressively earn more by working with the same SMEs over time. The surplus contributes to food security at household and country levels.