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Africa should end poor farmer narrative, says agribusiness boss

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Friday, 07 March 2014

Africa should end poor farmer narrative, says agribusiness boss

The world is increasingly looking to Africa to meet growing global food requirements. Foreign investment in the agricultural industry is growing in countries like Ethiopia, which are deemed to have high potential. A 2013 World Bank report titled Growing Africa: Unlocking the Potential of Agribusiness states the continent has the potential to create a trillion-dollar food market by 2030.
“I think agriculture is definitely one of the biggest growth areas for Africa,” says Mucai Kunyiha, managing director of leading Kenya-based animal health company Cooper K-Brands.Kunyiha says Africa has huge tracts of arable land, water and technology. What lacks, and is partly to blame for food insecurity in parts of the continent, is the right application of technology, the work ethic and vision to fully maximise the potential.
Although some parts of Africa, Kenya included, are currently battling hunger and starvation, Kunyiha notes that Africa has the right ingredients needed to “feed other parts of the world, let alone feeding ourselves”.“With better management Africa will be a global leader in food production. It is very possible,” he says. “If we look at Europe and other parts of Asia, the land is used to the maximum. Most of the new land available for agriculture globally is in Africa. This is the place it is going to happen. So it is about us knowing that demand and positioning ourselves.”
Originally from the UK, Cooper K-Brands started doing business in Kenya in 1906, targeting colonial farmers. The ownership of the company was transferred to local investors in 1990. Cooper manufacturers a wide range of products including vaccines and supplements for livestock and poultry and fungicides, fertilisers, herbicides and insecticides for crops. “Our customers are mostly commercially minded farmers because they understand the input compared with the output.”
Kunyiha attributes the company’s more than 100 years of success to innovation, strong brands, farmer connections built over decades and commitment by the firm’s leadership.
“Our corporate goal is enabling Africa to be a global leader in food production.”
Source: Howwemadeitinafrica.com