Agriculture deals worth multi-million dollars to be struck next month as investors throng the Kenyan capital for the 6th edition of Africa Agri Expo (AAE) in February 2023.
TAB Group Chief Executive Officer Tahir Bari said over 100 investors and potential business leads in the agriculture value chains from 35+ countries, are keen on setting up businesses in Kenya and East Africa.
“We have seen a lot of interest from investors in the Agricultural Value chains, some are coming to seek opportunities, others are coming to sign deals after successful discussions with Kenyan companies, a full figure of what will be signed isn’t very clear, but I am sure it will be more than $25 million (Sh3.1 billion),” Bari said during a press conference in Nairobi.
The agricultural 2-day event – AAE 2023 will happen on 8th February to 9th February at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) and is designed to provide solutions to Farmers, Agribusiness professionals, Agronomists, Government representatives to improve their yields and revenue.
The event themed ‘A Gateway to Agribusiness in Africa‘ will highlight the advancements in technologies for agriculture value chain, food security, nutrition, crop protection, water management and ways to mitigate post-harvest losses in Africa through the sustainable use of machines and technology as well as boosting productivity and profitability of farmers.
“The investors come from different parts of the world that include the Middle East, Asia, Europe and USA with a keen interest in tackling major issues in the supply food chain by introducing new technologies to help the sector grow and become more attractive to the young people,” he added.
The agriculture sector contributes 51 percent of Kenya’s GDP (26 percent directly and 25 percent indirectly) and accounts for 60 percent of employment and 65 percent of exports according to the World Bank.
The sector is dominated by smallholder production on farms of between 0.2 and 3 hectares, which account for 78 percent of total agricultural production and 70 percent of commercial production.
Agricultural GDP is driven by horticulture and cash crops, but productivity is low, particularly for cereals. Given that most of the poor are in the agriculture sector, productivity also matters for poverty reduction.
“We are urging the youth to show up in big numbers and see new ways of farming, with new technologies that will be showcased at the event, We need to change the narrative that agriculture is for the old and the poor, there are many people earning a decent living in agriculture,” said Josephat Gathiru Muhunyu, Agriculture Secretary at Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock development.
On her part, Agriculture Sector Network General Manager, Agatha Thuo noted there is low adoption of technology within the agricultural sector which is affecting productivity at the same time suppressing potential.
“Over 90 per cent of the youth are exposed to agricultural technology but only 39 per cent of them are using any form of agri-tech.Lack of access to innovation is also a major hindrance to adoption of agriculture by the youth, we are excited that this expo is happening here in Kenya, opening up opportunities for the youth to take up the challenge,” she noted.
The World Bank projects that agriculture and agribusiness in Africa will grow to be a US$1 trillion industry in Africa by 2030. To promote this outcome, the continent must review its incentive structures.
The region holds about half of the world’s fertile and as-yet-unused land – and yet it spends US$25 billion annually importing food. It also uses only a tiny percentage of its renewable water resources.