Data: Key to Harnessing Agribusiness Opportunities in Kenya
The use of data is critical in developing sustainable value chains in Kenya, if agribusiness is to take its rightful place in the growth of the Kenyan economy. This enables farmers and agribusiness investors make better investment decisions and attract capital to scale up. However, most investors are unable to distinguish true data from fad, often making decisions from hearsay.
Addressing agribusiness investors during the Inaugural Agribusiness Investors Summit at Strathmore Business School, Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Education Innovation and Technology, Dr. Fred Matiang’i affirmed that, “most investors are making investment decisions based on hearsay as opposed to facts and true data. Investing in good education cannot be underestimated as it plays a critical role in differentiating investors who succeed from those that fail. Our potential in agribusiness is grossly unrealized. Time has come when research and technology must be the foundation in which we develop agribusiness.”
The Kenya Vision 2030 identifies agriculture as a key sector to deliver 10 percent annual growth rates; if smallholder farmers will be transformed from subsistence activities, marked by low productivity and low value addition, to an innovative, commercially-oriented, internationally competitive and modern agricultural sector. “The world of agribusiness is shifting and its growth is increasingly demanding as the world’s population continues to grow. There is need to develop and grow new technologies, skills and knowledge to increase productivity and deliver food and agribusiness products around the globe. Strathmore University’s support to innovation will continue to grow. We take a proactive stand in creating new knowledge and nurturing new talents into entrepreneurship, translating knowledge into building the country’s economy,” remarked Prof. John Odhiambo, Vice Chancellor Strathmore University.
To better access financing, agribusiness investors should be keen on understanding the value chain of their produce as well as be cognizant of how various risks along the chain can be mitigated. “Beyond production, successful farmers must begin with the market in mind. Bankable agribusiness proposals must illustrate their power to generate sustainable revenue,” said Lucas Meso – managing director, Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC). Additionally, “we must evaluate agribusiness as a holistic investment, beyond production activities, commonly referred to as farming,” said Sammy Langat, CEO Transnational bank.
He further advised the investors on the numerous opportunities in agribusiness value chains in Kenya beyond production that savvy investors can profitably engage in. This includes technology prospecting, technical services, market linkages, logistics and business services that will help farmers and cooperatives become smart companies.
The Inaugural Agribusiness Investors Summit convened over 300 agribusiness investors, providing them with an opportunity to engage with experts and acquire facts about the value chains to be able to make informed decisions and choices, while sampling and exploring what the sector has to offer.