Yara played a key role in establishing Grow Africa, a public-private platform designed to accelerate investments and transformative change in African agriculture that support national policy priorities.
Since the 1960s, Africa has struggled to increase food production sufficiently to keep pace with population growth. Despite strong economic growth in several African countries over the past few years, hunger remains an unresolved issue: The number of people suffering from malnutrition is on the increase.
One reason has been a relative decline in investments in the agricultural sector. Africa did not experience a green revolution such as the one that helped increase farm output in Asia and Latin America.
The Grow Africa partnership was convened jointly by the AU, NEPAD and the World Economic Forum in 2011, with an aim to support national strategies for agricultural growth. Main avenues for such growth are: accelerating private sector investments; enabling multi-stakeholder partnerships; expanding knowledge and awareness of best practices and existing initiatives.
The platform builds on partnership models supporting the African Green Revolution, and championed through the New Vision for Agriculture. It promotes the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP), which is the continent’s agricultural strategy adopted by African leaders in 2003.
The partnership operates at three levels: the Grow Africa Patrons providing high-level championship; the Grow Africa Task Force engaging senior leaders of partnership organizations; a small coordination team. Grow Africa facilitates dialogues, including the hosting of investment forums, and provides support for innovative finance, risk management and partnership building, with the intent of boosting smallholders and agricultural SMEs by tackling constraints to their commercial viability.
Yara is one of the private sector members of the Grow Africa Task Force, and took on the position as one to two co-chairs from the outset in 2011. Yara has been a key catalyst and contributor to the process leading up to the formation of Grow Africa, starting with its engagement for the African Green Revolution, championing public-private partnerships, and supporting the call for global support and increased investments included in the Oslo Declaration, adopted during the African Green Revolution Conference in 2007.
Also, in 2008 Yara launched the Agricultural Growth Corridor concept, along with other value chain partnerships, featured in the New Vision for Agriculture, which is another stepping stone for the establishment of the Grow Africa platform.