The African Agri Investment Indaba's second day was marked by insightful discussions and groundbreaking sessions, focusing on the critical issues of food security and innovative financing for agriculture in Africa.
The day commenced with powerful narratives from industry leaders. Gilles Mettetal, Chairman of the Board at Agri Council, emphasised Africa's big potential, stating, "Africa is a continent with huge untapped potential." This sentiment was echoed by Wrenelle Stander, CEO of Wesgro, who highlighted the collaborative opportunity to build food security across the continent
A key theme of the morning was the challenges faced by African farmers. Fokko Wientjes, Deputy CEO of Nutriset, pointed out, "The biggest problem for African farmers is volatility and unpredictability," underscoring the need for a shift towards processing in agriculture.
In a parallel breakaway session, the World Food Programme focused on the role of smallholder farmers and agricultural SMEs as the backbone of Africa's food systems. Despite their significance, these groups face substantial challenges in accessing finance. The session revealed that formal financing channels meet only about 17% of the demand from agri-SMEs, leaving a vast funding gap.
Another session, led by SAFIN, explored the innovative financing solutions to bridge this gap. The discussion centered on how to integrate supply and demand strategies to improve access to finance for agri-SMEs. It featured a panel discussion and a segment for agri-food SMEs to pitch to potential investors, aiming to connect high-potential SMEs with the necessary financial support.
Norman Celliers of Afgri, commented on the innovation in agriculture, noting, "Agriculture around the world is very advanced in innovation. The world underestimates the innovation that exists in the agriculture sector."
The day's events at the Indaba - both the challenges and opportunities in African agriculture, with a strong focus on unlocking the continent's potential through collaboration, innovation, and targeted financial solutions. The day also hosted investment discovery sessions where project owners could present their projects to potential investors