Update on African Agriculture

Children of rice farmers in Uganda.

Photo credit: Andy Kristian Agaba / Gates Foundation. www.andykristian.com

Lion’s Head has continued its efforts to increase capital flows into African agribusinesses, working with our own portfolio companies and with like-minded organisations that are seeking to create a vibrant and sustainable agriculture ecosystem throughout Africa. We focus on the important issues of food security and nutrition, but above all, of advancing sustainable, commercially viable agriculture.

Outside making substantial headway with and for our clients, we have just raised $6mm from Agri-Vie for the Tanzanian beef value chain operations of the Tanzania Food Corporation (of which we are an investor) and its wholly owned subsidiary, Mtanga Farms Limited; the press release is attached.

As a business focused on African Agriculture, and investor in agriculture SMEs, we observe that actual investment in primary agriculture across Africa continues to lag behind commitments made by both public and private sector participants. This is disappointing, but more importantly raises a number of questions.

This note is our reflection on what we see happening in African agriculture, describes some of the challenges and proposes certain ways forward. As ever, we write as principals, not academics, and we would very much like to hear your thoughts.