Agriculture remains the key driver of Sub-Saharan Africa’s rural economy. It contributes 17% of aggregate GDP, and accounts for 40% of total economic output in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). In Eastern Africa for instance, more than 76 percent of people, the majority of whom are poor, smallholder farmers-rely almost exclusively on agriculture for their consumption and income needs and most of them (more than 50%) survive on less than USD 1 per person per day. Majority of smallholder farmers in SSA have not been able to tap market opportunities due to low entrepreneurial skills, low production and productivity as well as limited access to remunerative markets. Among the root causes for this challenge is the fact that business development service providers in public and private organizations are poorly equipped with value chain and market capacity development to support smallholder farmers’ shift from subsistence to commercial agriculture and access to profitable markets. The AFMA network seeks to change this scenario.
The AFMA (African Farms & Markets) Network is a multi-sectoral and multi-value chains virtual platform that brings together all key actors in the agricultural value chains.
The platform aims to harmonize the efforts of the value chain players through enhancing market information exchange, learning and sharing among all the value chain actors in different value chains in an interactive web and mobile based platform. These actors include; small, medium and large scale farmers, (individually as well as through farmer organizations), agro-input suppliers, formal and informal traders, (individually as well as through trader associations), government agricultural extension workers, research institutions that are in the agricultural sector, rural development agencies/actors, donors , agro-processors (both large and SMEs), banks and micro-finance institutions
The network offers a platform for multi-sectoral trade, information sharing and other business related interactions to the various actors involved in agricultural value chains, in Africa and beyond. It is an intervention towards agriculture commercialization, economic empowerment and poverty reduction among the smallholder farmers.