The news on the podcast was shocking: “Africa imported about 85% of its food (2016-208) from outside the continent.” With all that land and all those farmers, how could that be true? At the same time, agriculture production in sub-Saharan Africa actually increasing. And it’s growing faster than in other parts of the world. Many African countries even export agricultural products to other countries on the continent. Looking deeper, another report found that four countries – Nigeria, Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Somalia – account for most of those imports.
Many of SIA’s Grant Partners are part of this increase in agricultural production!
Canaan Gondwe, SIA African Advisory Board Member who passed away this month, was a passionate advocate for farmers and rural development in Malawi. This photo is from my trip in 2019 when we tasted cassava straight from the ground. Canaan always had some advice and encouraging words for the Small Business Fund farmers. We continue to pray for all Canaan's loved ones, including the members of the Manyamula COMSIP Cooperative.
"Farming as a Business"
It is a big shift to move from growing food for your own family to thinking about agriculture as a business. Rural organizations like Kakuuto Development Initiative (KADI-U) in Uganda and Manyamula COMSIP Cooperative in Malawi help their members access high-quality seeds and buyers for the crop. By selling collectively as a cooperative, farmers can get a better price. New technologies in bags for storing harvested crops also make a big difference in the quality of the crop.
The SIA Partners WhatsApp chat group is a lively platform for sharing photos of farms, for sharing potential prices for crops, and for celebrating when the rains arrive. Since the rainy seasons are different in Malawi, Uganda, and different parts of Kenya, there is always something growing with SIA!
How it started and how it's going! KADI helps families expand their farms to grow soybeans. They will sell the crop collectively.
Last weekend, Samuel Teimuge and African Advisory Board member Dennis Kurgat held a training for 100 farmers on how to plant and care for pixie oranges in the rich soil of the Rift Valley in Kenya. They provided seedlings that they had grown from seed.
A family returns home with their empty ox cart after a day at the market. Manyamula Village, 2019. Photo by Kathleen King
*Farmers: I recommend ECHO Community for information about all types of crops and planting techniques.*