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1 june 2018


1 Silent revolution – Organized farmers taking the lead


Farmers are no longer only cheap producers of commodities and a next generation cooperatives has shaken off the burden from the past and is in the lead of a transformation of rural areas. A “silent revolution” is taking place. One where entrepreneurial farmers and agri & food professionals are establishing competitive, market oriented cooperative companies to boost agricultural production and create off-farm employment, often under the radar of NGO’s or governments. This new generation realize they do not need to wait for external parties to provide development. Examples in Ethiopia and India clearly demonstrate that the moment farmers take development in their hands by hard work and investments with their own capital, things can change and the ambitions of the farming families can be achieved. These developments spur the structural transformation of the economy and -when done massively in modern, market-oriented cooperatives- boost economic growth and improve income distribution

This workshop aims to expose the experience of Mr Dejene Hirpa, deputy manager of Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union and former general manager of Becho Woliso Farmers Cooperative Union. Participants will be invited to analyze and discuss the Ethiopian case from six different angles:

* Differentiation among rural dwellers
* Environmental costs of rural poverty
* Revision sustainable development goals
* Youth and employment
* Investment in rural industrialization
* Role of cooperatives

Expected output:

* Clear policy recommendations to further enhance and support rural industrialization in Africa.
* Participants gained insights on features of next generation cooperatives.
* Opportunities for Dutch agri & food industry identified.

You are most welcome to this workshop if you are interested in concepts of structural transformation and rural transformation and how these are practically linked to agricultural development and off-farm employment. This workshop is especially interesting for farmers, agri & food industry, policy makers, students and knowledge institutes.


This workshop is organized by Agriterra, the Dutch agri-agency for cooperative business development. new generation is looking for role models and for new forms of farmer's co-operations, and is open to local partnerships.

2 Private sector coalitions to feed African cities



This workshop focuses on ways to increase investments of Dutch companies in Africa by matching up with local demand and partnering up with local companies. Previous activities of the Innovation Network Feeding Cities have shown that partnering up with local private sector in coalitions is a key entry point for Dutch agri-food, water and logistics companies into local markets where they have much to offer African private sector actors. Beyond their products and services, Dutch knowledge and skills to implement integrated solutions have the potential to address complex problems that arise in emerging African markets. Especially in large urban markets solutions that combine innovative technologies and knowledge on distribution, storage and logistics can be of real added value. But to succeed an in-depth understanding of local markets and food systems is necessary to match up with local demand.

During the workshop we will focus on how to get better insight in the complexities of local demand and scope for opportunities in African cities. African entrepreneurs will present their perspectives and their expectations of what the Dutch private sector can deliver. Panel members that all have inspiring stories to share will then discuss experiences with collaborative partnerships and enhancing entrepreneurship locally. This workshop is particularly interesting for larger companies, SMEs and representatives from intermediary organizations, NGOs, knowledge institutes, networks or policy makers who have experience in or would like to invest in food security (business) cases around cities in emerging economies.

Workshop programme

11.10 – 11.15 Opening remarks: Frans Verberne, Director of the Food & Business Knowledge Platform
11.15 – 11.35 Presentations: What do African entrepreneurs need? What do young entrepreneurs specifically need? What do they expect from the Netherlands?

  • Peter Muthee, CEO Latia Agribusiness Solutions Ltd
  • Second speaker to be confirmed

11.35 – 11.55 Panel discussion: Linking up with demand of local private sector actors as an entry point for private sector collaboration: Panel members (next to African speakers, panellists from agrifood sector, intermediary organizations and government)
11.55 – 12.15 Q&A, discussion with workshop participants
12.15 – 12.25 Presentation of booklet on private sector partnership intermediaries
12.25 – 12.30 Closing

Food & Business Knowledge Platform in close cooperation with MVO Netherland as initiators of Innovation Network Feeding Cities. Activities of the Network are organized in consultation with: BoP Inc/Business Accelerators, Topsector Agri&Food, Topsector Horticulture and Starting Materials, Holland Horti International, AgriProFocus, Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO), NL International Business (VNO-NCW en MKB-Nederland), Netherlands International Works (“De Werkplaats”), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality.

3 Critical capital for African agrifood Entrepreneurs

Rabobank Foundation

Investments in the agri-food sector in Africa are essential to reach the SDGs in 2030 and combat hunger and poverty. It is estimated that agriculture and agribusiness could grow from $ 313 billion in 2010 to a $1 trillion in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2030. However, investments lag way behind the required amounts, especially in start-ups and early growth SMEs, the so-called ‘missing middle’. These SMEs are drivers of economic and social development and key for establishing sustainable food systems to supply the growing African cities.

Starting point is a research that was conducted in the last quarter of 2017. Pioneers in the field shared their insights how to ease investments in agri start-ups and early growth SMEs in Africa. During the workshop the outcome of the research will be presented through inspiring cases highlighting the needs, the innovative mechanisms for investment already in place and challenges which hamper increase in investment in start-ups and early growth agri-food sme’s. Together with the experts and participants we will explore and brainstorm about innovation and partnerships needed to take investing in the African agri-food sector to the next level.

For whom?
The workshop is especially meant for investors, venture capitalists, philanthropists, policymakers and BDS suppliers with experience in, or an interest in, bringing start-up and early growth agri-food SMEs to the next level. Participants are expected:
- to contribute their experience,
- get inspired by the research cases and other participants and
- contribute to definition of joint action needed to take agri-food start-ups and early growth SME’s to the next level.

The workshop is organized by ICCO Cooperation, Rabobank Foundation and AgriProFocus. The research report was supported by the Food & Business Knowledge Platform.

11:10 - Intro by Michael de Groot
11:15 - Presentation of research by Frank Bakx
11:30 - Presentation of research report to Hans Docter
11:35 - Pannel discussion in three rounds
12:20 - Wrapping up by Michael

4 Youth and agripreneurship

F&BKP, YEP, AgriProFocus

The Food & Business Knowledge Platform (F&BKP), AgriProFocus and the Young Expert Programmes (YEP Agrofood and YEP Water) will organize a workshop together during this conference, focusing on youth entrepreneurship in agricultural transformation. The goal is to inspire and engage the audience, putting forward stimulating and thought provoking statements and showcasing young changemakers and their work in being the solution for agrofood challenges.

Ms Mukungu will kick-start the session by sharing her experiences as a successful entrepreneur and Founder of the Africa Rabbit Center. Dr. Atta-Krah will provide a keynote with a macro perspective on the topic of “youth agripreneurship in Africa” and insights and inspiration around “why invest in youth?”. This will be followed by a “Youth Caravan”, a Q&A session with several young entrepreneurs / young professionals active in the field of agribusiness in Africa. How do they contribute to agricultural transformation? Why agribusiness? What obstacles did they face, and how did they overcome those? What makes them successful?

Furthermore, during the lunchbreak, you can get familiar with a variety of successful initiatives of organizations in this field in the “Youth Market Place” in the foyer. Several NGOs, networks, knowledge institutes will present their work related to youth in agri-food systems.


11h10-11h25 Opening by organizers and short word by moderator

11h25-11h45 Keynote speech by Kwesi Atta-Krah (Director Country Alignment and Systems Integration IITA – explain about IITA Youth Agripreneur program and macro-perspective of youth agripreneurship in agricultural transformation)

11h45-11h55 Introducing the “Youth caravan”
Bertrand Foffe (CEO of Jangolo in Cameroon & finalist of CTA Pitch AgriHack 2016)
Thomas Schuurmans (CEO Proportion Foundation)
Maya Turolla (PhD youth in agribusiness in Uganda)
Frederieke Muijs (Young Expert at TU Delft - Valorisation Centre – Uganda)
Maarten Hermus (Young Expert at VDS A’campo Holland GreenTech – Uganda)

11h55-12h20 Youth Caravan Q&A

12h20-12h30 Conclusions, rounding-up

12h30-14h00 Youth Market Place during lunch in foyer

Sustainable food systems & agripreneurship: what role for the AU-EU Partnership and the Climate Funds?


Expected outcomes
Clarification of the debate and proposal of solutions by European and African stakeholders, around policy and investments for more sustainable food systems (SFS) and climate-smarter agriculture (CSA), through relevant policy processes in Europe, Africa, and the AU-EU and global levels in support of agripreneurship

One key way to foster sustainability and variety in our food systems is supporting the production, marketing and consumption of more sustainable horticulture, i.e. neglected and underutilized species (NUS), given their better nutritional value and climate resilience and the increasing demand by consumers. Market systems, including certification & labelling, for the sustainable promotion of NUS, and other parts of an enabling policy environment that make diversity of diets both affordable and attractive to the consumer, can be game changers to achieve food security and sustainable food systems. In Africa, this would also contribute to integrating territories along the urban-rural continuum, linking all actors in the food system, from producers to consumers, and enabling in particular smallholders and small service providers to better supply urban and regional demand, thus taking advantage of burgeoning African food economies (i.e. supplying the increasing food demand coming from urban areas, given the increasing purchasing power, and the resulting changing diets with higher consumption of high-value food products). Small entrepreneurs can indeed be protagonists of both SFS and Private Sector for Development, given their share within total population, sustainability of their farming and trading practices, their growth potential and proximity to expanding urban areas (compared to food imports). 

In an effort to inspire policy/practice linkages, and taking into account results of the recent Summits of AU and EU (e.g. in Abidjan),  this workshop will address all of the above and put forward a number of solutions, around: trade and investment cooperation between Europe and Africa; labels recognizing simultaneously the environmental-social-economic sustainability of traditional horticulture; use of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to finance programmes for the adaptation of African agriculture, especially as a concrete commitment for AU-EU and a sign that the AU-EU Partnership can be real and influence multilateral results. Traditional horticulture is only one aspect of SFS and CSA but will be used to illustrate the importance of being concrete -rather than rhetorical - when talking about CSA and SFS, and that there is a potential role for funds like the GCF to support sustainable agriculture in Africa.

Proposed panellists

  • Marcel Beukeboom, Dutch Climate Envoy
  • Ann Tutwiler, Director General of Bioversity International
  • Grammenos Mastrojeni, Italian MFA Coordinator for the Environment in Development
  • Representative of the Adaptation of African Agriculture Initiative
  • African company representative active in sustainable value chains (e.g. traditional horticulture)
  • Agricultural Counsellor of the Dutch Embassy in Kenya
  • Roberto Ridolfi, FAO Special Strategic Adviser for Investments and Financing Development

Image: © SNV

[> About "Team up with African agripreneurs"

[> Read the "Focus Document"

[> Programme pre-event Thursday 31 May 2018 (invitation only)

[> Programme conference Friday 1 June 2018

[> Recommended Readings

[> Pictures

[> Directions: walking from Utrecht Centraal to Rabobank

... 391 participants ...

Additional support for this conference is provided by: