May 2012. Private Sector Perspectives for Strengthening Agribusiness Value Chains in Africa: Case Studies from Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya and Mali. Partnership Report by Mima Nedelcovych and David Shiferaw.
Value chains have been accepted as an effective way of focusing on measures to improve the
scale and impact of private sector investments, which include the investments made by
smallholder farmers themselves as well as those made by larger-scale domestic or foreign
agribusiness investors. Development partners have adopted value chain approaches when
designing interventions and project implementation to coordinate their support to specific sectors
and commodities. Particularly due to the emphasis on targeted value chains by the US Government’s Feed the Future Initiative, a better understanding of the linkages being made (or
missed) along a value chain will be essential to realizing the returns that they promise.
This report is a summary of observations made in four country studies: Mali, Ghana, Kenya and
Ethiopia. The findings suggest that African governments have significant opportunities to take
actions that would directly stimulate private investments in agriculture. The private investors
interviewed believed that, with greater government support in creating an enabling environment
and less direct government intervention in value chains, critical barriers to their businesses would
be reduced or eliminated. Observations specific to the four countries and four agricultural
commodity value chains are summarized below and call for practical reforms that promote the
growth of successful agribusinesses and more productive farming in Africa.