Food security: What Africa needs to borrow from Brazil

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Prof. Joao Bosco Monte, President of Brazil Africa Institute giving a brief on Brazil Africa Forum and its impact on Africa's Agricultural Markets during the Food Security Knowledge Session at Strathmore University Business School

By MURIMI GITARI

May 15, 2019, Nairobi.Brazil is set to open a second Africa office in Nairobi next month.  The Brazil Africa Institute will serve the East Africa region like its branch in Accra, Ghana, serves West Africa.

Speaking at the Strathmore Business School on 7th of May this year during a Knowledge Session on Food Security Prof Joan Bosco Monte, the president of the institute said the institute will target training the youth to get into agribusiness to improve production in the country.

“We have a youth technical training programme, YTTP, in Brazil that offers training and ideas to youth leaving them to transform the ideas into business without any kind of interference from us. It helps us know if they were able internalize t the training and how productive the youth can be with the ideas given to them,” Prof. Monte said.

She Joan emphasized on the need of useful networks in making consultations, get what one needs and access to vital information and techniques from resourceful people in the agribusiness sector.

The professor launched the Brazil Africa Forum here in Kenya, scheduled to takes place at Sao Paulo-Brazil in November. The forum will bring together various spheres of governments, decision makers, researchers and investors to exchange ideas and experiences in agriculture, job creation and entrepreneurship for food security through economic growth.

Brazil has grown into a global agricultural powerhouse after going through a transformation path, becoming the world’s fifth largest producer and exporter of agricultural products after United States, Netherlands, Germany and France. This is a sharp contrast from the 70s when it was a net importer of farm products. This has been achieved through investing in technology over the past 50 years.

Many farmers in Brazil have greater entrepreneurial capabilities with the country having the largest biodiversity reserves in the globe with the production and exportation of sugar, coffee, orange juice, soybean, beef, tobacco, ethanol, and broiler chicken. The country has so far adopted technologies and modern innovations that would change agricultural practices by providing seeds, fertilizers, agro-chemicals and mechanization so as to have a productive agriculture environment.

For instance, the government would provide 100 hectares of communal-based land to about 10 people and rent them machinery, train them on how to operate and maintain the machines by practicing large commercial farming that will later lead them to becoming viable farmers without depending on state.

Strong cooperation and association of farmers guarantees them higher bargaining power and information exchange that motivates them in enhancement of decision making. They have the power and the rights of putting into action the ideas they are provided with after undergoing training.

Mr. Marcos Brandalise, the CEO of Branzafric Group of Companies explained how technology, combined with techniques, innovation and extension services  lead to  agriculture transformation in any part of the world when  combined with affordable finances, sound research and development .  “A government that has sound policies will make agribusiness and agriculture at large a success story as with the case in Brazil and it is my hope that Africa adopts new innovations and modern technology in agricultural practices that would lead to economic freedom,” the CEO said.  He added this will revolutionize the agricultural landscape in Africa.

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