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Background, theme, goals

Fascinating developments take place around agriculture in Africa. Demand has exploded with a fast growing population, rapid urbanization, and better financial possibilities. Africa itself should and can meet this demand.

Governments, from heads of state to ministers of agriculture on the African continent recognize the political priority of, and the opportunities for, the sector. Food security, rural employment, climate change, and breaking the vicious circle of hunger-conflict-migration demand a new and extensive answer of broad investments in Africa, from inside and outside.

Recently this has been picked up by the international community, the European Union and the Netherlands Government. Plans and facilities have become available or are being prepared, by the new government of the Netherlands, as well as in Germany and France.

Booming urban markets in Africa provide business opportunities for farmers, and local and international agripreneurs. Urban consumers need fresh and healthy food, such as vegetables, fruit, poultry, dairy products and meat. The food issue is a leading theme on the international agenda. The challenge for Dutch Diamond actors (government, research institutions, business and civil society organizations) is:

Summing up:

The expansive growth of African cities poses serious food security problems. However - this event takes another perspective on the same issue:

1. General

This conference is a FoodFirst conference, which is to say that:
- it concerns agriculture, food farming in Africa
- by farmers in Africa, family farming
- and the Dutch contribution by companies and institutions.

2. Policy context of this conference

World hunger is on the rise: the estimated number of undernourished people increased from 777 million in 2015 to 815 million in 2016. Causes are multifold, but there are two common denominators: conflict and climate change. Food security worsened most notably in situations of conflict, in particular where the food security impacts of conflict were compounded by drought or climate-related shocks. Displacement, violence, and the destruction of basic infrastructure disrupt and destroy lives and livelihoods, resulting in massive migration. Hunger, again, can also cause conflict.

The multiple challenges the world is facing in terms of food security, climate change, depletion of ecosystems and inclusive development require integrated responses and a transition to sustainable, resilient agricultural and food systems, able to cope with conflicts, violence and instability. Investments in resilience are needed, especially in youth, with a focus on employment and offering new opportunities for smallholder, agribusiness and SME’s. With an estimated 364 million Africans between the age of 15 and 35 years, Africa has the youngest population in the world.

Private investments are essential, as the public sector alone cannot stimulate the necessary agricultural transformation. Urban growth increases food demand and spurs dietary changes in urban areas. New demand can create opportunities for rural producers. Massive gains are to be made in post-harvest handling and logistics, as in Sub-Sahara Africa between 30 and 50% of production is lost at various points in the value chain.

3. Subject matter and leading question

This conference is about the farm-to-market trajectory, or farm to consumer.
The following double question is leading: what obstacles and what opportunities for improvement are here, according to African farmers and experts; and what can Dutch companies and institutions contribute to this?

4. Subtopics and workshops

The farm-to-market trajectory is set out in the following four subtopics, which will be discussed in more depth in workshops:
- financing, including fintech
- private investments, Dutch and local SME's in the value chain
- agripreneurs’ organization, cooperatives
- youth and agripreneurship

In every workshop: the demand analysis is provided by African input; this analysis is leading for Dutch support; and the workshop outcomes and deliverables are to be set in the framework of the conference: the farm-to-market trajectory.

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: