Harnessing opportunities in agribusiness incubation to create more jobs for youth. The collaborative role of the FAO alongside AAIN and partners

Having collaborated with the African Agribusiness Incubators Network (AAIN) in evaluating the delivery of mentorship services at incubator level in Africa in 2016, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) continues to play a key role in boosting support services for agribusiness incubation.

“We have gained strong momentum working together and the future is indeed brighter for SMEs and other beneficiaries of the AAIN-model incubation programmes across the continent.”- Dr Alex Ariho, AAIN CEO.

Above: AAIN Management with FAO representatives at the AAIN Secretariat in Accra, Ghana.

In a meeting at the AAIN Secretariat in Accra, Ghana the two partner organisations explored renewed efforts towards enhancing the delivery of the hundreds of mentors in Africa attached to AAIN-affiliated agribusiness incubators and hubs.

“Mentees need to develop a workable level of trust in their mentors based on their knowledge of the model of incubation and we are working together to make sure that the AAIN mentors deliver as expected.”- Peter Kuria Githinji, AAIN Business and Partnerships Development Director.

It is through the support for the mentorship programme that the partners hope to raise the prospects for agribusiness SMEs and other beneficiaries of AAIN-model agribusiness incubation.

“There is indeed need for building capacity of agribusiness SMEs to develop viable business models and gain from the impact of incubation with time. This is where the mentors are also needed.” Stephanie Gallatova from the FAO.

A major partner for a promising sector 

The FAO’s commitment to supporting job creation in agribusiness was also stressed earlier in the year by Bukar Tijani, the Director FAO Africa in a partnership meeting with representatives of AAIN management.

Above: Dr Alex Ariho, CEO of the African Agribusiness Incubators Network (Left) together with Bukar Tijani the FAO Director for Africa during the partnership meeting. 

The establishment continues to foster agricultural development in Africa, having also launched the first working version of the Global Record online Information System in April this year as an online repository of vessels involved in fishing operations which will serve as a single-access point of information to combat Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing that is estimated at an annual cost of US$ 10 – 23 billion.

This was followed by the Africa Sustainable Livestock 2050 Initiative in Egypt in May, four agricultural service apps for Africa in addition to multiple initiatives like the West African food composition table a publication that details the composition of 472 foods from the Western Africa region.

The support for agricultural sector programmes through partnerships was also emphasized by José Graziano da Silva the Director-General to the 40th session of the FAO Conference on the 7th of July this year.

“Building resilience and protecting the livelihoods of poor rural communities are crucial to eradicate hunger and poverty. This is especially true today, with the increasing intensity of conflicts, violence and the impacts of climate change. But bear in mind that to win this fight, we need everyone on board, especially donors. Financial resources must flow to help the vulnerable people that are suffering from hunger.” FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva.

The FAO was also a strong partner for the Africa Agribusiness Incubation Conference and Expo in Accra, Ghana in October, 2016 the next edition of which will be hosted by Senegal in October this year.

Above: Participants at the exhibition of the flagship Africa Agribusiness Incubation Conference and Expo in Accra, Ghana in October, 2016 where the Africa Youth in Agribusiness Day was launched. The FAO held a series of panel discussions jointly with AAIN regarding job and wealth creation as well as mentorship for AAIN-affiliated incubators and hubs.