Stories tagged: kanayo nwanze

Kanayo Nwanze: For Inclusive Rural Development, Farms Come First

This week, Kanayo Nwanze, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) wrote a piece for FT: This is Africa, about the huge potential that African agriculture can have, if the right investments and interventions are made. Part of the “Inclusive Economies” series, the article explores that statistics presented in the latest Farming First infographic, which was compiled in partnership with IFAD.

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In the article, Nwanze states that today, two thirds of Africans earn their living from agriculture or fisheries, yet Africa imports $35bn worth of food every year. He questions why this should be, as this is food that can be and should be grown in Africa, by Africans. This is money that should be flowing in to support African businesses, not outwards.

When speaking of the infographic Farming First and IFAD created to demonstrate the potential African agriculture has, Nwanze writes that the data gathered speaks volumes about why Africa lags behind other regions. For example, only around 5 percent of cultivated land in Africa is irrigated, compared with 41 percent in Asia. At the same time, farmers in Africa apply only 10 to 13kg of fertilizer per hectare of cultivated land. This compares to more than 100kg in South Asia – even though roughly 75 percent of African soils lack the nutrients needed to grow healthy crops.

Click here to explore the infographic

Click here to explore the infographic

Irrigation alone could boost the continent’s agricultural output by 50 percent, and efficient use of fertilizer has been proven to triple yields. Imagine the future Africa could have if the appropriate investments and policies were in place to realize just these two interventions.

To realize Africa’s potential, he argues, we need to dramatically change the way we look at agriculture. Smallholder farming is a significant economic activity, a business enterprise that feeds people and generates wealth. It is a dignified profession and needs to be treated as such, and not just as an activity of the rural poor.

Nwanze urges us to take collective action to ensure that Africa’s future includes a vibrant and productive rural economy, which begins on the farm. Only then can we hope to see a continent that is prosperous and free of hunger.

Click here to read the full article. Explore the infographic at


Money Matters for Smallholder Farmers with Kanayo Nwanze, International Fund for Agricultural Development

In the first of our brand new series of Farming First TV interviews, Kanayo Nwanze, the President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), talks to Farming First about the extent to which helping smallholder farmers access bank loans can set them on their way to growing their businesses and securing their futures.

In the video below, Nwanze describes a project in which IFAD and Alliance for A Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) have been providing guarantees that enable farmers to obtain bank loans from Kenyan lender, Equity Bank.

The initiative, launched in 2008, helps “the beneficiaries to grow their businesses so that they can own collateral and go into the mainstream banking system,” Nwanze explains.

AGRA and IFAD initially provided a 10 per cent risk-sharing fund in the form of a $5 million deposit that enabled Equity Bank to provide a 20 million loan project to small producers. The default rate was less than 1 percent, and the project then grew as more banks wanted to participate.

The impact of such projects can be transformative, affording even farmers of the smallest scale the opportunity to transition from microfinancing into the banking mainstream.

Nwanze describes meeting a woman farmer from Awassa, Ethiopia, who started with $100. “Within ten years, she’d been able to grow her business from one cow to seven cows including a heifer. She’d been able to buy land,”

Watch our video for the full interview with Kanayo Nwanze.

‘Put Farming First’, Urges IFAD President

KANAYO F.NWANZEKanayo Nwanze, the President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), has urged a meeting of African finance ministers to “nourish their agriculture sectors” if they hope to mitigate the impacts of a global economic downturn.

Nwanze said:

Resuming economic growth, resolving the food crisis and tackling the challenge of poverty must necessarily be based on creating a dynamic smallholder agriculture sector.  Investing in smallholder agriculture is the most sustainable safety net for societies.

40 per cent of the labour force in sub-Saharan Africa works in agriculture and tehy produce 30 per cent of the export earnings in the region.  Keeping these farmers afloat is vital for these countries to manage their way through an economic downturn.

To help with this, IFAD is working in several African countries to boost production (and meet the food needs of a growing population) through the supply of quality inputs, like seeds, fertilisers and other tools.