Agri-business: Africa’s “new oil”

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By Linda K Sibanyoni on February 20, 2017. No Comments

Agriculture is taking a huge leap in Africa and investors want a piece of the action too. Projections by the UN are citing that FDI in African agri-business is projected to reach $45 billion in 2020 and industry will be worth 1 trillion by 2030. How wealthy are those investing in Africa’s agri-business set to become while majority of Africans are largely ignorant about the amazing potentials of agriculture.

Below are 5 reasons why agriculture is the biggest business opportunity right now in Africa:

1). Africa has abundant and affordable agricultural land – According to the World Bank, Sub-Saharan Africa is home to nearly 50% of the world’s fertile usable and uncultivated agricultural land. On average one hectare (10,000sqm) can be leased for as low as $100 per year depending on location.

2). Africa has a ready market and high demand for agricultural produce – Agri-business is one of the best business opportunities in the world because food never gets out of fashion. People must eat everyday!!. Africa currently spends billions of dollars every year in importing grains, flour and all kinds of processed and semi processed foods which it can locally produce. There is a huge opportunity for entrepreneurs who can provide cheaper and locally grown alternatives to the food and food products that Africa imports.

3), Improved varieties and farm practices are changing the game across Africa – Agri-business in Africa has suffered through the years because of its poor yields and poor farming practices. However due to advances in crop/animal science and technology, it is now possible to harvest more food per hectare that ever before in Africa’s history. Across Africa, these improved varieties and sustainable farming methods are increasing yields by as much as 400%.

4). Agri-business is very scalable. You can start with what you have – The opportunity to start small means that people with little capital can become part of Africa’s multi-billion dollar agri-business industry. This is because of the guaranteed demand for agricultural produce that small vegetable or poultry project in your backyard could just become a huge business tomorrow.

5). Agri-business is a huge job creator – Agri-business at present makes up 60% of the labour force in Sub-Saharan Africa. Agri-business remains a top employer of labour in many African countries. The value-chains in the agri-business industry from food production, processing and marketing provide huge opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship.

Africa has everything it takes to exploit the huge opportunity to meet its own needs for food production. However, the reality is if we don’t step up and grab this golden opportunity, Africa could be spending further billions of dollars over the next 30 years on imports from foreign nations.

Linda K Sibanyoni is an entrepreneur in the agro-processing sector who has recently diversified operations into fish processing in the Binga District of Zimbabwe. She has work experience in excess of 10 years in the accounting and audit field and building successful start-ups in Zimbabwe. She can be contacted for business at +263772384210 or