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The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) Kenya have signed on November 14, 2014, in Nairobi, a grant agreement to support the growth and formalization of 54 African seed companies in eleven countries. The Fund for African Private Sector Assistance (FAPA) managed by the Bank has provided US $1 million to fund a technical assistance project in the form of Business Development Services for the 54 seed companies. This technical assistance project will help the seed companies increase their production of quality seeds for rural farmers ultimately contributing to ensuring food security and the reduction of poverty in rural areas. Gabriel Negatu, Regional Director, East Africa Regional Resource Centre, and Agnès Kalibata, President, AGRA, signed on behalf of the Bank and AGRA, respectively.
The 54 seed companies are located in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Rwanda, Mozambique, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Niger, Liberia and Uganda. Through interactive on-site sessions with seed managers and staff, classroom instructions, field visits, secondment of specialists to seed companies and provision of literature and updates on the seed industry in Africa, the 54 seed companies will be capacitated to improve their management and technical capacity; increase their knowledge of new varieties developed by breeders and gain practical and technical skills enabling them to produce high quality staple crop seeds for African rural farmers. Commenting on the project, Joe DeVries, Director of AGRA’s Program for Africa’s Seed System (PASS), which will be responsible for implementing the project, said, “I am certain this investment will achieve a lot of impact for poor farmers in the form of much larger volumes and better quality seed becoming available in their villages.”
The AfDB recognizes that food security is a top priority on the African continent. AfDB’s Negatu commented: “FAPA support is timely as Africa’s heads of States and AfDB are celebrating 2014 as the Africa Year of Agriculture and Food Security. It is certain that support to seed companies will boost African agricultural productivity, currently only reaching 20% of what is observed in the rest of the world.”
FAPA is a multi-donor thematic trust fund that provides grant funding for technical assistance and capacity building to support implementation of the Bank’s Private Sector Development Strategy. The Governments of Japan and Austria and the African Development Bank, are active contributors to the fund, which to date has provided over US $50 million to 51 projects in 38 countries across the African continent. The FAPA portfolio includes regional and national projects aimed at improving the business environment, strengthening financial systems, building private sector infrastructure, promotion of trade and development of micro, small and medium enterprises. For further information, visit: www.afdb.org/en/topics-and-sectors/initiatives-partnerships/fund-for-african-private-sector-assistance/enhanced-private-sector-assistance-for-africa-epsa-initiative/