infoDev is designing a new program to help facilitate the start-up and growth of innovative post-harvest agribusiness SMEs that add value to primary agricultural products in four African countries: Ethiopia, Mozambique, Senegal, and Tanzania. The most recent workshop took place in Senegal and brought together 62 participants from various fields.
A small to medium sized enterprise (SME) that deals in post-harvest agriculture works with the primary agricultural products -- cereals, fruit, meat, milk etc -- that go into the food that eventually makes it to the consumer -- cakes, smoothies, hamburgers, ice cream etc. So, the ways in which the SMEs "add value" might include improving storage processes, developing premium products, and raising nutritional values. However, some SMEs also add value through creating new marketing approaches (ex. for organic produce) or by networking farmers (ex. in a fairtrade network).
The first workshop gathered financiers, entrepreneurs, private industry, researchers, universities, NGOs and policy makers involved in the horticultural sector to share their local knowledge and experiences. The participants were especially focused on exploring the implementation of Agribusiness Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centers (AIECs). These stakeholders had the opportunity to identify major issues and challenges that an Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center should address.
AIECs support innovation and entrepreneurship in the agribusiness sector by offering a full suite of services to early-stage entrepreneurs, specifically designed to address the barriers that early-stage entrepreneurs face at the start-up and growth stages of their business development process.
The specific sectors of focus and services to be provided by the AIEC are being identified through an intensive stakeholder engagement process that was initiated in Senegal.
To learn more about the value chains identified for their growth potential and the next steps of the initiative, please consult the summary report available in below French. Check back for more information as the initiative progresses!