SCEL FARMERS – FINANCE
Sixty per cent of Africa’s rural population is made up of young men and women between 15 and 24 years of age. Depending on which prism you are using to view the circumstances, this is either a potential opportunity for increasing economic productivity or a time-bomb waiting to explode, with the current migrant situation as a test case.
Currently, there is an accelerating crime rate across the region and youths are at the center of these crimes even in the migrating racket that has become a global crisis as the youths seek to migrate to the urban areas or more developed regions in search of jobs which are not available.
Meanwhile, Agriculture agreeably possess the capacity to change these dynamics as it is globally accepted as a dominant sector capable of absorbing the critical mass of the youths in Africa for increased economic productivity and development. It employs over 60% Africa’s labor force, contributes 17% of aggregate GDP, and accounts for 40% of total economic output.
Furthermore, the GDP growth generated by agriculture has been shown to be at least twice as effective in reducing poverty as GDP growth in other sectors. Accelerated agricultural growth is crucial for reducing hunger and poverty, empowering youth and women, and achieving a global partnership for development particularly the Millennium Development Goals.
Therefore, a shift from subsistence to commercial agribusiness is more crucial than ever before. Increasing Investment in new ideas, new technologies, marketing of farm products, such as warehouses, wholesalers, processors, retailers and generally getting away from the
old-fashioned methods that rely on manual labor and exhaust the soil forms part of the solution. Agribusiness itself suffers from a lack of affordable finance and of access to credit, and from under investment in infrastructure.
There needs to be more investment in water sustainability, food storage,new sciences, and relevant education. The agribusiness sector also needs to unlock the full potential of the small and medium enterprises which are the bedrock of the African private sector. Realizing the full potential of the SMEs is critical to maximizing private sector output and to job creation.
The overall objective which the 2017 inclusive finance conference seeks to actualize is to expose, exploit and expound increasing access to finance for Agribusiness through the micro-finance institutions which is considered as the conveyor belt for the MSME sector as the panacea for unemployment, underemployment and underdevelopment by;
* Increasing partnership opportunities for microfinance institutions network.
* Attracting additional funding windows for microfinance institutions.
* Providing a framework for increased lending to farmers
* Launch of Farmer-to-Finance Fund for increased Access to finance for MFI’s