Rabo Development, part of Dutch international financial services provider Rabobank Group, has revealed that it is to be part of a consortium aiming to professionalise the value chain of vegetable production and consumption in Africa.
The group is partnering with Wageningen University & Research, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and Greenport Holland (horticultural business cluster) to form an open consortium of business and knowledge partners targeting Africa's vegetable industry.
"Ensuring that the growing world population will have sufficient food now and in the future is one of the greatest challenges facing the modern world," explained Berry Marttin, member of the board of Rabobank. "The Dutch greenhouse vegetables industry can play an important part in this. It is the most efficient food producing industry in the world with the highest production per acre and the lowest use of water, fertilisers and other source materials.
"Through this consortium, we will unite the Dutch expertise and set up Dutch-African partnerships to develop a flourishing African vegetable producing industry," Marttin added. "We have decided to focus on Africa, because population growth is expected to accelerate in the next decennia, whereas food production has until now remained relatively low. Africa is a net importer of food, spending over US$50bn importing food annually."
Next steps for the new consortium include identifying the most promising regions and produce in Africa for the vegetable value chain, choosing regions within these countries to work on, developing African Credit facilities and getting involved in education and training.