Africa should set its sights on feeding the world – Sola David-Borha, CEO Standard Bank Group (Africa)

Sola David-Borha is the Chief Executive of Africa Regions at Standard Bank. In this article, she shares her insights on opportunities in the Agriculture industry.

Motherland Moguls, you don’t want to miss out on this one.


Africa needs to make more food

With the world population expected to swell by 2 billion people over the next three decades, Africa has an opportunity to step up and become a major global food production hub.

For the time being, Africa remains a net importer of food, despite its vast tracts of underutilized land and other enviable natural resources. Its reliance on food imports weighs on the continent’s current account and spells a missed economic opportunity.

Source: Unctad, Rabobank

With the right policies, technologies, and infrastructure in place, Africa has the potential to first meet its own food requirements, and then exceed them – Sola David-Borha, CEO Standard Bank Group (Africa) Click To Tweet

The agricultural sector is possibly the continent’s biggest growth lever, with a sizeable potential for much-needed job creation. This is especially poignant considering that Africa is estimated to hold about 60% of the world’s uncultivated arable land. Of the land that is cultivated, yields remain extremely low and irrigation techniques dated.

Agribusiness is the next big hustle

The adoption of modern and innovative farming practices could spur a step-change in the output of existing and new farmlands. The Netherlands, a country that is roughly 3.4% the size of South Africa by land area, provides a good example – being the world’s second-largest exporter of food by value, despite its size, thanks to high yields.

Meanwhile, Brazil shows that it is possible for an emerging market to shift from a net importer of food to a net exporter. The South American country did so through trade liberalization and investments in agricultural research, among other initiatives.

Africa is still only scratching the surface of its potential in the agribusiness game – Sola David-Borha, CEO Standard Bank Group (Africa) Click To Tweet

To shift the industry onto a new trajectory, a combined effort between policymakers, financial services firms and the industry itself will be needed.

What you should be thinking about

Financial services should consider how they can facilitate the sector’s growth by providing sustainable finance solutions across the agriculture value chain.

Investments in areas such as logistics, renewable energy, warehousing, and other storage facilities, agro-processing plants, and irrigation technologies will be crucial, as will public investments in road and rail infrastructure as well as ports.

Access to markets is also an important focus area, and measures to tackle this issue will boost the entire agricultural value chain.

Policymakers can play their part by creating an enabling investment environment, as countries such as Kenya have done.

To align policies across the continent, governments should consider existing frameworks. Regulations should be aimed at striking a balance between economic growth and safeguarding Africa’s natural environment.

Encouragingly, the imminent implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) will lower tariffs and promote intra-African trade in agriculture, making the continent less reliant on food imports from other regions. And through cross-border initiatives, Africa could strengthen its food export prospects.

Standard Bank is funding African Agribusinesses

African states and farming groups would also do well to adopt ‘smart farming’ concepts. Standard Bank, for instance, in partnership with technology companies, has piloted projects that use drones to monitor the health of crops, and digital technologies to monitor and regulate soil moisture in order to save water by avoiding unnecessary irrigation.

Standard Bank is also working with development finance institutions and export agencies to develop sustainable finance solutions specifically for the sector. We are funding projects that allow small-scale farmers to transform themselves into contractors that supply commercial farmers.

An opportunity for African Women

Climate change poses a serious risk to Africa’s food security – and the world’s. The effects are already being felt – Tropical Cyclone Idai caused unprecedented damage in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi less than a year ago, while catastrophic droughts and flooding have affected South Africa and East Africa, among other regions. Currently, the devastating locust invasion in East Africa – Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia specifically – is threatening food security in the region.

Considering that agriculture already accounts for a large portion of Africa’s GDP, the impact of climate change on the economy can be severe.

Another risk is that the expansion of Africa’s agricultural sector will place more strain on the continent’s water resources, which need to be carefully managed. The adoption of advanced irrigation techniques is a good start.

Standard Bank recently partnered with the United Nations (UN) Women on a project aimed at developing climate-smart farming techniques amongst rural women. The initiative is being rolled out in Uganda, South Africa, Malawi, and Nigeria.

While the sector’s future is not without its risks, it may well be Africa’s biggest opportunity in the coming decades. Being a major contributor to GDP and employment, the agribusiness sector is the continent’s most effective lever for achieving inclusive growth.


About
Standard Bank Group

Standard
Bank Group is the largest African bank by assets with a unique footprint across
20 African countries. Headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, we are
listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, with share code SBK, and the
Namibian Stock Exchange, share code SNB.  

Standard
Bank has a 156-year history in South Africa and started building a franchise
outside southern Africa in the early 1990s. 

Our
strategic position, which enables us to connect Africa to other select emerging
markets as well as pools of capital in developed markets, and our balanced
portfolio of businesses, provide significant opportunities for growth.  

The group
has over 53 000 employees, approximately 1 200 branches and over 9 000 ATMs on
the African continent, which
enable it to deliver a complete range of services across personal and business
banking, corporate and investment banking and wealth management.  

Headline
earnings for 2018 were R27.9 billion (about USD2.1 billion) and total assets
were R2.1 trillion (about USD148 billion). Standard Bank’s market capitalisation at
31 December 2018 was R289 billion (USD20 billion). 

The
group’s largest shareholder is the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
(ICBC), the world’s largest bank, with a 20,1% shareholding. In addition,
Standard Bank Group and ICBC share a strategic partnership that facilitates
trade and deal flow between Africa, China and select emerging markets. 

For further information, go to http://www.standardbank.com  


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Peggy Moele proves that Aquaponics is an innovative way to breed organic food for African communities

56-year-old Peggy Moele is one of the few women in South Africa practicing aquaponics and aquaculture-agriculture in her 10 hector veg and fisheries farm. The new system of aquaponics and aquaculture has helped Peggy win awards and getting much recognition and a helping hand from the Department of Agriculture, forestry, and fisheries in her country, South Africa. She was one of the few women of a group of farmers funded to go on an excursion tour and workshop in chines province to learn about the modern solutions to organic farming and fisheries in early 2017.   Khethiwe Mndawe interviewed Peggy Moela after receiving her award as woman farmer of the year in her municipality and nomination nationally at the Woman in agriculture awards 2017. Peggy was born and raised in rural Bushbuckridge, growing up with values that depend on the land farming to create sustainable solutions for the community to never go hungry. As a young woman growing up in the nomadic homelands, the poverty of the families around her always touch her to work towards how she can bring solutions for other families and greater way of making a living.  “I started out running a catering business, unable to find work in my area yet seeing the poverty and lots of lands always draw me to agriculture I came from a poor background and I’ve always see the  challenges and need of the people in my community and it has always been a wish of mine to create employment” said Peggy Running Jubilee farms with her son they had decided that they wanted to go into fisheries and explored those possibilities after a visit for an official from the department of agriculture, in her province who expanded their knowledge and supported then in kick-starting building their first pond. After having built over 10 ponds and growing they started with 360 Tapia fish from Mozambique practice and  Aqua phonic and aquaculture fish farming and organic veg farming and their journey in China studying the different options toward organic farming and fisheries. Mrs. Peggy Moele got her first recognition  after winning as the female entrepreneur farmer of the year 2016, she was selected as the top female in agriculture in Bushbuckridge again in 2017 and awarded at the Provincial agriculture female awards by the minister of Agriculture, forestry, and fisheries 2017 and nominated in the nationals for her unique and developing farming business in her 10 hector farm. A system that combines conventional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as snails, fish, crayfish or prawns in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment. With pigs and cows that she has bread over the years, she had discovered with her son the proactive of aquaculture, using excretions from the animals being raised can accumulate in the same pond water, increasing toxicity. “With the aquaponics system, we use the water from an aquaculture system which we feed to a hydroponic system. The by-products are broken down by nitrifying bacteria into nitrites and subsequently into nitrates, which are utilized by the plants as nutrients, and the water is then recirculated back to the aquaculture system”. “We have been doing most of the work ourselves in putting these systems together and they have produced many results and  accelerate the  vision or organic farms and fisheries for the community and working toward commercial  supply.” Said, her son, Boka Moele, Manager of the Jubilee farm “Seeing that I came from elders who always ventured into farming, feeding the communities and sustaining themselves through farming. It was easy for me to decide to go into farming. I took all my profits and saving from my catering business, and in 2011 I approached the chiefs in my village area and bought about 10 hectares of land” said Peggy Moele They started to use 6 hectors of the land and cleared, to begin seasonal crop farming. Things were very difficult in the beginning, I couldn’t afford any workers, those that worked for me, I would offer them and their families groceries and vegetable to sustain them as we were struggling and still growing.   “After the department had heard about my farm in Bushbuckridge, they came to view our farm our progress and to hear what challenges we were facing.  The official then introduced us to aquaculture and fisheries, he showed us how to build our first pond and ever since we have built much more on our own to cater for our fisheries business. We have since been breading the Mozambique Tilapia fish. Initially, we started with 360 fishes in 2013 and we are amazed at how much the fishes continue to grow and multiply. We have since been having a good relationship with the DPT of agriculture and they have been very good to us in assisting us and I am so grateful” said Mrs. Peggy Moele Today we have close to 20 ponds in counting, a good irrigation system and they have been adding their keep of cows and pigs. The farm sustains itself with the season veg crops they farm and they have opened not to various student and agriculture researcher to use and practice form. “We are so proud of her and we believe she is the best representative of women youth farmers. We hope form today onwards mayflies will follow her. It is inspiring to see our women in mud and surrounded by flies other that plastic hair and makeup  because we admire  that when they touch the land they subdue and multiply its uses to feed the nation and with this they can lead the men working with the land and producing form it to a point of  economic contribution” said Minister of Agriculture and rural development and affairs in the Mpumalanga province, Mr. Vusi Shongwe They have hired a few young people and families in her surrounding communities, who work and contribute to the development and economic transformation of sustainable farm in the Mpumalanga province that is going commercial and exploring n bigger markets. They also produce mangoes, tomatoes, banana and popos, spinach. “She is one of the women who represent the backbone of development of rural and national economies. Their exact contribution in terms of magnitude and nature remain difficult to assess due to the variations in different regions. Evidence shows that through contributions like her in her area and marginal participation in agriculture and fisheries, they make significant contributions to food security and economic development of countries all over the world.” said the minister of agriculture Mr. Senzeni Zokwana “There is a need to invest in female farmers and we as three South African government have son what great breakthrough and community employment come through if we empower these women like Peggy,” he continued.
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Brigite Faustin: The future for women agripreneurs is blossoming

@BrigiteF founder of OBRI is seeing an increase in ambitious agripreneurs across Africa Click To Tweet

When Brigite Faustin says the future for women agripreneurs is blossoming, we believe her. The Tanzanian #MotherlandMogul is Founder and Managing Director of OBRI (T) Company. Brigite’s company makes edible oil under the OBRI brand. From raw materials to manufacturing, everything is done in Tanzania.

Brigite is a self-taught entrepreneur who has made agribusiness and human development her business. She runs OBRI company as a co-operative social enterprise, ensuring that farmers and communities are supported. Brigite wants to see more women in her industry and has suggestions on how to make this happen.


Tell us about the concept of co-operative social enterprise your business is modelled after.

Our business model lies behind the concept of co-operative social enterprise. This model promotes economic opportunities for cooperatives organizations, farmers associations and communities through the innovative application of sound business practice. The model supports smallholder farmers to adopt sustainable agricultural practices, improve land use, increase the quality and quantity of their crops, and promote safe and efficient working practices.

The model is a win-win to both farmers and the company, as it guarantees a sustainable market channel of agricultural produce to the local farmers while offering quality raw materials to the company without stressing on price fluctuation.

How many years have you been in the industry you currently work in? How do you believe your business model will improve this industry?

I researched this industry for three years and formalized our company October, last year. I believe our business model will improve this industry because most edible oils in Tanzania are imported and sold at high price.

Majority of local companies fail to meet the required quality. Our business model emphasises quality control and value for money. We only source our raw materials from co-operative unions who are dedicated to quality.

Brigite Faustin: I researched this industry for 3 years before formalizing my company Click To Tweet

Was there a point where you didn’t take your journey seriously? What happened to change that?

Yes. Running a business is like riding on a roller coaster. Although it is fun and exciting, there will be times when you’ll be scared and feel powerless.

The first three months after I started my company, I wasn’t 100% sure that my brand will stand out in the market and survive the competition. I had limited perception of what my business is capable of! I chose to shed my illusions, understood the core value proposition in my business model and demystified the workings of the business world. Finally, I found myself achieving more than what I have ever dreamed was possible.

brigitha-faustin-2

What are your experiences as a woman in Tanzania’s agriculture and manufacturing sector?

My experience has been both challenging and exciting. Like in many parts of Africa, running a food manufacturing company in Tanzania is not easy. There are lots of challenges from the policy point of view to market acquisition.

The biggest challenge so far is brand awareness. Being that I am building a proudly African brand, it takes a lot of work to penetrate the market and get people in the know. I have a global plan for my brand.

Weak policy implementation and a lack of small business support is another challenge. The government and other key stakeholders have to work on this to encourage more women and young entrepreneurs to invest in the sector.

What has been the biggest highlight of your career so far?

Seeing my products competing with both local and international brands is the biggest highlight for me.

Some of these brands have over 10-20 years in the market!

Brigite Faustin: Our business model emphasises quality control and value for money. Click To Tweet

What keeps you going every day?

I always believe each new day brings an opportunity to get it right. I’m driven to become and remain successful.

My goal is to grow and sustain my company. As my business grows, so does my responsibilities. I see my company in the next three years growing across Eastern and Southern Africa, employing young minds and contributing to the society.

This keeps me going and pushes me to get it right every day.

Interest in agriculture is slowly growing across the continent, what do you think needs to be done to encourage more women to go into this sector?

I see an increase in ambitious, devoted and motivated agripreneurs daily across the continent. It is inspiring! Women are no longer waiting for someone to dish them riches on a platter of gold. They are ready to work for it and I am confident that the hard work will pay off soon.

Even with the success stories, a few has to be done to encourage more and more women into this sector.

Brigite Faustin: I always believe each new day brings an opportunity to get it right. Click To Tweet
1. Mentorship, coaching and role models.

I wish when I first began my business that I had a coach. Someone to learn to and take me through the journey. I would not have made so many careless and uninformed mistakes. This would have helped me save a lot of resources (time and money) and I could probably be one or two step ahead of where I am today.

Again, the more coaching and women role models there are, the more women will think, ‘maybe I could actually do this’. So hopefully, as we start to get more role models in the agriculture industry coming through, more women will think seriously about their ideas.

2. Support

As agriculture has become more commercially-orientated, the glass ceilings which held restrictions have been lifted. There are now far more opportunities within agriculture businesses for women to actively participate.

Governments have a key role to play in this relation. They should support access to land, provide financial opportunities and design friendly policies that will encourage more women to take agriculture seriously.

The future for women agripreneurs is blossoming. I think it’s high time now for women in Africa to feel confident and start to participate in agriculture for business.


If you’d like to share your story with She Leads Africa, let us know more about you and your story here