The African Development Bank’s managed trust fund, Agriculture Fast Track Fund, has awarded almost $2 million in new grants to four agribusiness operators on the continent to help develop high value agriculture infrastructure projects.
The grants will help Odebrecht, based in Mozambique, to offer a good quality chicken supply with $555,000. EcoFarm, a sugar cane estate development also located in Mozambique, receives $797,500 for its sugar cane production and processing. Another $150,500 will help Tanzania’s Tanga Fresh’s UHT milk expand production while KijaniAgro (Tanzania) plans to offer a variety of high quality fresh fruits and vegetables with $490,000 in grants.
The AFT Fund, a brainchild of a group of multi-donors including the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Swedish Development Agency (SIDA) and the Danish International Development Agency (Danida), is designed to boost investment in Africa’s agricultural sector, thereby improving the continent’s economy. It also aims to strengthen the links among the continent’s farmers, the markets and the consumers to enhance agriculture infrastructure and ensure the highest standards in terms of social and environmental sustainability through improved food security in Africa.
So far the AFT initiative is being piloted in six African nations—Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique and Tanzania—all of which struggle with poor infrastructure and food insecurity.
The Agriculture Fast Track Fund was launched, approved and signed by the AfDB’s Board of Directors in May 2013 during a sidelines event of the Grow Africa Investment Forum during the World Economic Forum in Cape Town, South Africa.
The Fund has already awarded six grants totally $3,217,000.
The grant’s latest recipients’ visions adhere with the AFT’s mandate of an impactful agriculture infrastructure, the fund said in a statement.
Odebrecht, for instance, offers training program that help young people enter the labor market. The company has trained 2,300 Mozambicans in Health and Safety, Environment, Quality and Psychology at Work with ACREDITAR.
EcoFarm works with 1,150 farmers owning 50 percent of the sugarcane estate and hopes to create 1,000 jobs in the area.
Tanga Fresh pledges to increase the distribution of UHT milk to cities far inland where dairy products are not available or affordable. KijaniAgro is planning to have 1,000 smallholders, including 60 percent of women, benefit from the project, with a special attention paid to women professional development and progress within the firm.
– By THE AFRICA BAZAAR Staff Writer