The Agro-processing in Africa conference will be looking at the importance of agro-processing in the agricultural value chain.
Most people think of agriculture only as the tilling of the soil, or rearing of animals. This is the most important aspect of farming, but it is part of an entire value chain making up the agricultural industry. In most African nations, agricultural activities employ more than 70% of the population and accounts for more than 50% of the GDP. However, lending by commercial banks account for about 3% of the total loans provided. If we can find a way to get this figure only to 10%, it would automatically put our continent on the road to sustainable prosperity.
Africa currently spends $35bn a year importing food. It is estimated that 99% of what is imported can be easily produced in Africa. Armchair critics would say: “How can we ban this”, but a good policy-maker argues: “How can we encourage and equip our own people to get into agriculture”. Recently the South African government, through the Department of Trade and Industry, pledged to provide R550m in support of the Black Industrialist Programme, with a portion of the funds earmarked to support agro-processing in the Eastern and Western Cape.
This conference appeals to anyone involved in the agricultural sector, mainly focussing on both the primary and secondary processing industries of agro-processing. Primary processing involves sorting, grading and packaging of the agricultural products, and secondary processing includes the conversion of agricultural products into value-added products like juices, concentrates, pickles, jams, chutney and squashes.
The conference will also look into funding, empowerment and the future of agro-processing in Africa. It will include case studies on rice processing, converting waste to produce fertiliser, egg farming and presentations by top-notch speakers from across the African continent. The Agro-processing Conference takes place from 29–30 November 2016 at the Irene Farm Estate, Centurion. – Press release