A conversation with COLEACP’s DG on COVID-19 and beyond
Commodafrica (20 July) featured an in-depth conversation with Jeremy Knops, General Delegate of COLEACP, discussing the impact of the pandemic, the positive and negative lessons, resilience, adaptation and the need to increase the added value of SMEs. The article provided an opportunity for COLEACP to convey the challenges COVID-19 posed for ACP producers: to continue producing; to ensure sanitary conditions that respect the WHO recommended measures; and to bring their products to local, regional and export markets.
Questions were also raised about changing markets in Europe, and the perceived opposition between the export sector and the regional and domestic sectors. Jeremy explains that exporting allows the development of “virtuous schemes in terms of development for operators, in terms of skills acquisition and professionalisation […] The challenge is to have a knock-on effect of these virtuous enterprises on the entire agri-food sector.”
The discussion also covered how SMEs are drivers in terms of processing and creation of added value, a movement accelerated by COVID-19. Jeremy describes how COLEACP, in association with professional organisations, has launched a number of pilot operations to set up very simple platforms to collect data from their members on available production that has not found a market and to link this to existing online buying and selling platforms. These pilots have been launched in Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana for all fruit and vegetables.
The article also covers COLEACP’s swift response to the demands of the crisis through organising online bootcamps and accelerating digital support, especially in bringing on board the network of trainers and experts in nearly 50 countries to support this new way of teaching, and to support operators to be able to create digital content themselves.
Read the full conversation with Jeremy here.
COLEACP market study of fruit and vegetables from sub-Saharan Africa
COLEACP’s market study of fruit and vegetables from sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is in press and will be published shortly. The report finds that although agriculture and food in SSA faces many challenges – particularly in the context of the global COVID-19 pandemic – structural change is under way in the fruit and vegetable sector. Over the past 30 years Africa has been a net importer of agricultural products, and the continent still faces multiple threats and weaknesses. But Africa also has many assets to successfully transform its agriculture.
The study’s main objective is to gain a better understanding of trade dynamics and marketing trends at national, regional and international levels, and to identify the most promising value chains for actors in agricultural processing in Africa and, in particular, for the millions of small entrepreneurs and family farms represented by fruit and vegetable producers in SSA.
Read the executive summary here
The Caribbean Export Development Agency invited COLEACP to introduce its activities in the Caribbean via a webinar, “Doing business in the post-COVID-19 agrofood sector: A presentation of COLEACP activities”, on 30 July. 166 participants attended the virtual event from all over the Caribbean. COLEACP’s Jeremy Knops, Marian Renkens and Marie-Hélène Kestemont introduced COLEACP’s Fit For Market programmes and current Caribbean partnerships, as well as taking the opportunity to meet new contacts among Caribbean organisations active in the agro-food sector. Caribbean Export, the only regional trade and investment promotion agency in the OACPS, serves the 15 States of the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM).
Growing People, Growing Business
COLEACP has launched a new series of video testimonies by our partner MSMEs, titled “Growing People, Growing Business”. Each week, one of our public or private sector partners will share their contributions to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals – and the challenges still to be met – via our social media platforms. You can now view the first testimonies by the Tanzania Horticultural Association (TAHA) and the Pacific Island Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO). This series builds on our celebration of World MSME Day in June 2020, when COLEACP and its members and partners paid tribute to the key role of MSMEs in the food value chain through this video.