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What does Africa mean to you?

August 19, 2014
Plan flying.

When you think about Africa from a business perspective, do you think about its famine, political and social instability, or do you see a land of opportunity? Africa has seen incomes grow by three percent in just 10 years and The Economist magazine coined the phrase, ‘Africa rising,’ to reflect that eight out of the world's 10 fastest-growing economies are in Africa. In fact, both the World Bank and United Nations have recently issued reports pointing out that scaling up agriculture and agribusiness is the next frontier in Africa’s revitalization, and the fastest way to address rural poverty and hunger.

The 2014 Global Feed Tonnage Survey we released in January, which assesses the compound feed production of 130 countries each year, reported that Africa is the fastest-growing feed producing continent for the second time in a row, reaching 31 million tons of feed produced in 2013. Additionally, according to the findings, Africa’s chicken and broiler market is only a mere five years away from being the size and scope of that in Thailand or Brazil – two of the world’s top countries for poultry production.

Moreover, Africa has an abundance of three things that are critical to successful agriculture: sunshine, rain and land, at a time when these are in short supply elsewhere. Agribusinesses can invest in Africa to bring new technologies and techniques to the region while also profiting from the region’s rich aquaculture and land mass potential. It’s important to acknowledge the obstacles that Africa faces when it comes to logistics, storage and infrastructure (the “GLIMPSE” factors) but it’s more important to see the opportunity that exists if we can overcome these challenges.

In terms of landmass, Africa is capable of housing China, the United States, Russia, and Western Europe within its borders. As home to one of the world’s fastest-growing economies in terms of GDP, it should become a $1 trillion food market by 2030. Such a dramatic change would not only transform Africa from being largely dependent on food imports, to becoming a potential food exporter. More importantly, it will increase the availability of affordable food and significantly decrease widespread hunger.

I invite you to come and be a part of Alltech’s 30th Annual International Symposium as we embrace the future of agriculture together, and take a hard look inside the business opportunities that lie within Africa and the markets it impacts. My colleagues and I will outline the agricultural revolution occurring in Africa and the big issues it faces, where to invest and what to invest in, and present case studies on those businesses who have succeeded so far in the underutilized terrain.

Furthermore, we will open by honoring the father of the Green Revolution, and one of agriculture’s greatest advocates, Dr. Norman Borlaug, with Alltech’s 2014 Medal of Excellence. We will present the posthumous award to Borlaugh’s granddaughter, Julie Borlaugh Larson, in honor of his agricultural innovations that saved more than a billion people worldwide from starvation.  She will open our Africa session, which promises to be a tremendous event -- meant to inspire, inform and spur ambition and motivation into the future of agriculture.