Entrepreneurship in agriculture can be a tool to sustain economic growth, create employment to the local farmers and improve the quality of life of a nation, a German entrepreneur and scholar informed an audience of students and faculty at JKUAT.
Dr. Andreas Wesselmann, who is also the Managing Director of Africrops, noted that in Africa, agriculture is still viewed as either a subsistence industry or side project for individuals with full-time jobs in other sectors hence making it unpopular.
“If managed well agriculture especially organic farming can be a profitable venture that can help communities to thrive and prosper,” he said.
He was speaking during a seminar convened by Deputy Vice Chancellor in-charge of Research, Production and Extension, Prof. Mary Abukutsa, and attended by staff and students of the faculty of agriculture, October 5, 2017.
Dr. Wesselmann, urged those who want to venture in agricultural entrepreneur to ask themselves one pertinent question; “What does Africa have that the world needs?” According to him the world is now focused on the consumption of organic products to enhance healthy living.
“Most sales of organic products are in Europe and North America with a global value of over 70 billion USD,” attested Dr. Wesselmann.
Giving an example of his company, Africrops, based in Tanzania, Dr. Wesselman said the demand of Moringa, Baobab and Hibiscus product has been high thus showing that the consumption of organic products is higher than the production.
He advised the academia to link up with industry and research more on the production of organic products adding that research will be key in enhancing the value addition component of the organic products.
“Majority of the farmers we have engaged with lack knowledge and capacity on organic farming. This gap can be easily field by the researchers in our universities by building capacity of organic farming in the continent,” counselled Dr. Wesselman.