In 2008, Yara launched an ambitious partnership concept at the UN General Assembly. The concept – Agricultural Growth Corridors - aims to develop underutilized land areas in Africa that have great potential to enhance food production and economic growth.
Africa has lagged behind in agricultural development and food production, with an increasing number of people being food insecure. At the same time, there are large areas of arable land where agricultural productivity can be improved.
Although more than 80 percent of the workforce in Africa is comprised of farmers, the majority of them are subsistence farmers who only produce enough food for themselves and their families, often living in extreme poverty.
Consequently, many areas in Africa require large-scale investments to shift the agricultural landscape and transform subsistence farming into viable businesses. A major obstacle is the lack of infrastructure, which reduces access to inputs and limits outlet to markets.
The Agricultural Growth Corridor concept is an innovative way to finance regional development and lift people out of poverty. The concept has a public-private partnerships approach, and takes the entire value chain into perspective, aiming to improve efficiency through targeted investments.
Currently, two regions have been identified as potential breadbaskets. Both contain large areas with high agricultural potential as well as a backbone of infrastructure to build on: the Beira Agricultural Corridor (BAGC) and the Southern Agricultural Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT).
By connecting these areas to infrastructure, efficient logistics providing inputs, storage and transportation to markets, the goal is to forge viable value chains supporting both large-scale and smallholder farming. Investment blueprints have been developed, describing opportunities and strategies over the coming 20-year period.
The corridors involve cooperation between African governments, private companies, donors, development institutions and academia. The concept includes improved financing facilities and credit schemes, especially for smallholders and agro-dealers. By easing farmers’ access to regional and international markets, the goal is to drive rural development and economic growth in Africa. SAGCOT is also a pilot green corridor.
Yara developed the corridor concept together with several partners. The concept has been favorably received and supported by a number of key stakeholders, and a wide range of partners have signed up to the corridors. Yara’s initial role was that of a catalyst, while at the same time investing in a fertilizer terminal at the port of Dar es Salaam as part of the value chain infrastructure of SAGCOT.