Smallholder farms form the backbone of agricultural production yet insufficient training, inputs and financing, combined with market barriers result in low yields and poor returns. Increasing the capacity of smallholders to produce and market their goods, and connecting them to sources of funding and private sector companies, improves livelihoods and reinforces economic stability.

Opportunities for agricultural modernisation, sustainability, inclusive growth, and finance were central to the recent EMRC AgriBusiness Forum 2015 in Kinshasa, DRC - “Towards Inclusive Growth: A vision for Africa’s Agricultural Transformation.” SNV along with 450 global participants, ranging from large, medium and small enterprises, to financial institutions, government bodies, consultancies, NGOs, research centres, and donor organisations highlighted the benefits that agribusinesses can provide for Africa.

Over four days participants shared challenges and success stories to develop future business opportunities and partnerships.  Tom Derksen, Managing Director for SNV’s Agriculture sector, presented SNV’s approach for sustainably increasing food and incomes of smallholders. SNV also hosted a special session to share insights on success factors, challenges and opportunities for scaling up of inclusive agribusiness models and approaches. Ranjan Shrestha SNV Co-ordinator for Rice, Mirjam Steglich, SNV Co-ordinator for Cassava and Sara Mbago SNV Country Director for DRC, amongst others, showcased the SNV approach to building inclusive business models for beekeeping in Rwanda, rice in Zambia and cassava in DRC.

At the close of the forum, participants drafted the Kinshasa Declaration, calling for the establishment of national agribusiness platforms as vehicles for implementation.  The proposed role of such platforms is to pursue objectives such as the pooling of technical financial resources of the main actors involved in strengthening agricultural value chains, better coordination between stakeholders, and leveraging synergies and experiences among the respective countries where such platforms would be established. It is hoped that this commitment to action will strengthen African agribusiness for smallholder producers.