Record audience for CASA/AGRF session on climate adaptation in food systems

Over 700 virtual delegates joined over 150 in-person attendees in the AGRF DealRoom to discuss the need for a greater focus on investment in climate adaptation in food systems. This was the largest on-line audience for any event at the conference. The open-door session took place on Wednesday 7 September 2022 at AGRF 2022 in Kigali, Rwanda.

The ‘Tipping the balance’ AGRF DealRoom event in Kigali attracted huge numbers in-person and online (©CASA)

The session was called Tipping the balance: Opportunities in climate adaptation for African smallholder farmers and SMEs.  “The attendance at the event was very encouraging,’ said Alvaro Valverde of CASA. ‘But, one of the key themes of the discussion over the past few days has been the need to get our message out to the agri-businesses and investors. We need to go where they are especially if we are to get the small and medium sized companies, and their supply chains to act on climate adaptation. We know we have to work more effectively at mobilizing the networks and alliances to make this happen.” This will inform CASA’s events strategy and the development of the strategic partnerships.

CASA produced a briefing paper cover the issues from its recent, and in some cases unpublished research: Tipping the balance: Opportunities in climate adaptation for African smallholder farmers and SMEs.

Key takeaways from the panel discussion included the need to:

  • Focus on how to get agribusinesses in Africa to the table to talk about investing in adaptation, they need to invest in adaptation first and cannot look for other options such as moving into another geography
  • Invest in the nexus of agriculture and energy or transport as can be a way to tackling both adaptation and mitigation.
  • Acknowledge, there is a limited pipeline of investable agribusinesses. Could data help us aggregate pipelines of investable opportunities?
  • Remember that  feasibility studies for technologies is context specific.
  • Weigh up affordability vs availability when planning to push innovations and make them affordable for the customer, remembering the need for a clear business case for the farmers
  • Focus on de-risking investments in adaptation for private investors using donor funds and development finance initiatives (DFIs)
  • Understand investors and concessional finance providers don’t classify their investments as mitigation and/or adaptation, as they understand that these terms are interconnected
  • Be aware that even donors don’t always know exactly how much they invest in adaptation
  • Provide technical assistance to locally-led agri-SMEs, if they are accessing climate-smart agriculture technologies, to be able to evaluate their impact
  • Improve the metrics for measuring the impact of climate investment in adaptation and mitigation to avoid being accused of greenwashing.

The AGRF Deal Room session Tipping the balance, was filmed into five sessions and can be viewed below:

Film 1 – Presentation of the key findings of CASA climate investment research: Mat Hague, research lead, CASA

Film 2 –The role of concessional finance: Moderated by Aggie Konde, Vice-President, Program Development Innovation, AGRA

Film 3 – Investor perspectives on climate finance: Moderator Hedwig Siewertsen, Head of Inclusive Finance, AGRA

Film 4 –Investing in adaptation technologies: Moderator Hedwig Siewertsen, Head of Inclusive Finance, AGRA

Film 5 –Close and summation of topics: Moderated by Aggie Konde, Vice-President Program Development Innovation, AGRA

Mumbi Maina, AGRF Agribusiness Dealroom Lead at the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, said: “The content and knowledge brought to the climate finance session “Tipping the balance” by CASA, under Alvaro Valverde’s leadership, was widely recognized as ‘right on the money’. It helped to frame remarks from our world class speakers on actions needed to overcome key barriers to investments in agri-SME climate-smart innovation and adaptation. The session received high praise from many attendees, and has generated significant interest leading into COP27 dialogues.’

AGRF was also attended by Lenzie Mills Milling Ltd, a Malawi-based animal feed producer who were supported by CASA Malawi to attend and pitch at the event – creating solid interest from investors.

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