The evening of Friday, 10th September 2021 marked the culmination of an exciting week of intense conversations about creating resilient and sustainable food systems in Africa. With over 8300 participants including 150 in-person delegates in Nairobi and 4500 participants in the Deal Room, it was clear that building resilient food systems in Africa is a matter of urgency.
The African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) is the world’s premier forum for African agriculture that unites stakeholders from across the agricultural landscape, to share practical action plans and lessons that can propel African agriculture forward. It draws these stakeholders around a united goal of unleashing the full potential of millions of Africa’s smallholder farmers who earn their livelihoods and support their families from this while supplying about 80% of the food that feeds the continent.
The AGRF 2021 Summit was a critical and defining moment for Africa’s agriculture to highlight and unlock many of the innovations and financial, political, and policy commitments that the continent has achieved. Moreover, it sought to advance the commitments made at the Malabo Heads of State Summit and towards the achievement of the SDGs.
In the days before the summit, a ball of activities spanned across different departments and players – all aimed at making the event a success. From high production videos showcasing great innovations in the continent, to publications detailing commitments and action points taken, it was such a delight to see the event roll out successfully.
One such highlight is the publication by Ms. Ndidi Okonkwo, who unpacks her experience and engagements with over 80 successful African entrepreneurs through her book, “Scaling Resilient Agriculture Businesses”. In it, she articulates how entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of the agriculture and food sectors in Africa, and how they can develop their agribusinesses to promote sustainable and resilient food systems.
The call has been loud throughout the Summit, pleading for Africa and the world to change the way we produce, process, market, consume and deal with waste. It was reiterated that the failure to change our approach, will only make it harder to achieve the key sustainable development goal of ending hunger by 2030 in Africa. These pleas became even stronger during the closing ceremony which called for more action and less talk. The clarion call for the youth to engage in agriculture was also a resounding melody in the discussions throughout the week.
Notably, Ms. Anne Nyaga, Chief Administrative Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives in Kenya, noted that there needs to be a coordinated approach to support our children so that they can contribute meaningfully to the sector.
This was echoed by His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya, who observed that the young people are Africa’s greatest strength. He also added that we must transform agriculture into a youth-friendly sector, where young people can have a 360-degree view of the sector and see where they fit.
Among other exciting highlights of the summit included the various awards presented: the Africa Food Prize, the GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize, and the Value4Her Women Agripreneur of the Year Award (WAYA). It was wonderful to note that despite the false perceptions on agriculture adopted by the youth, there are still some who are transforming agriculture in Africa.
Another AGRF summit ends in a brilliant fashion, opening up to a whole new chapter of action and more action. With many moving parts required to make this a success, we at Emerging Ag are glad to have been considered a second time to curate the AGRF 2021 Summit program, and as always, we rally behind with our arsenals in building back a better food system for Africa and the world.