Sustainable returns come from inclusive value chains – CASA briefing states

Investors in Africa can achieve sustainable returns from inclusive supply chains in intraregional agricultural trade, states a briefing, published today.

The briefing draws on analysis produced by the Commercial Agriculture for Smallholders and Agribusiness (CASA) programme, the Empowering Producers in Commercial Agriculture (EPIC) programme, and the Malabo Montpellier Panel.

Alvaro Valverde, CASA Relationship Manager said: “The briefing highlights how investors and other stakeholders can contribute to promoting inclusivity and efficiency of Africa’s agri-food sector.

It is important that investors understand that proactive inclusion of small-scale farmers in their supply chains is not a threat to their business. It can be fundamental to creating a sustainable enterprise. Investment plans that ensure risks and rewards are shared equitably, deliver viable and sustainable investment over the long term.”

Three critical elements are highlighted that help investors build sustainable business relationships, which benefit their enterprises and the small-scale farmers in Africa in the supply chain.

Investors should:

  • take opportunities to influence and capitalise on intraregional trade policies, such as the African Continental Free Trade Area
  • support inclusive technical assistance for making regionally and internationally traded crop production more inclusive.
  • implement contractual relationships throughout the value chain, balancing risk and reward whilst ensuring inclusiveness and fairness

Technical assistance invention such as inclusive supply chain models, farmer extension, access to finance and inputs, increased use of mechanisation and technology, programmes to women, young and vulnerable small-scale farmers, and the promotion of climate-smart agriculture.

The briefing further concludes that investments that strengthen logistics, service provision and other market integration mechanisms, in Africa, also have a critical role to play.

Valverde concludes: “The briefing shows there is a unique opportunity for capital providers to invest in technologies that improve the quantity and quality of food traded. This can be designed to contribute to sustainable, mutually beneficial, development across Africa.”

This briefing has been supported by the Smallholder and Agri-SME Finance and Investment Network (SAFIN).

Download the briefing: Delivering on Regional Agricultural Trade in Africa: Considerations for Investors on Inclusive Supply Chains CASA, EPIC and Malabo Montpellier Panel.

Update: Watch the CASA webinar, covering the issues raised in the briefing, which took place in February 2021. The speakers were Débísí Àràbà, managing director, AGRF & Malabo Montpellier Panel member; Jonathan Barnow from the CASA Technical Assistance Facility; and Lorenzo Cotula from the Empowering Producers in Commercial Agriculture programme.

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