Australia’s support to the agricultural sector in Sub-Saharan Africa aims to enhance agricultural productivity and food security to promote growth and improve livelihoods. Australia has invested in the research and adoption of new technologies that address food availability, access and nutrition-related challenges for poor rural farmers. Our investments have focused on areas where Australia has comparative technical, research and agri-business expertise such as in dry land farming and biosecurity.
Australia has supported investments that boost private sector activity in agriculture, and improve the functioning of markets and agricultural value chains. Australia works with both public and private sector organisations from across Africa and Australia. The Australian aid program supports a number of other investments that contribute to progress in the agriculture sector, including the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) and AgResults, which support programs in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) supports agricultural productivity projects focusing on increasing agricultural productivity through farming systems intensification, diversification and improved market access.
Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund: Zimbabwe Agribusiness Window and Research into Business Window
$32 million, 2009-2019
The Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) is a USD310 million private sector financing mechanism that provides catalytic funding to enterprises in 24 countries across sub-Saharan Africa. AECF invests in nascent, and small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the agriculture/agribusiness sector, in the renewable energy and adaptation to climate change technology sector, and in rural financial services and communications systems that support the two sectors. It aims to reduce rural poverty, promote resilient rural communities and create jobs through private sector development. It has invested principally in livestock, poultry and seed sectors, including mechanisms such as outgrower schemes (that link networks of unorganised smallholder farmers with domestic and international buyers) and financial services including insurance and micro finance.
Australia contributes to two of the eight AECF Windows: the Zimbabwe Agribusiness Window (ZIM) launched in 2010 and the oldest country window of the AECF; and the Research into Business (RIB) window. The ZIM window aims to benefit about 350,000 rural households while the RIB aims to benefit 500,000 rural households. The RIB window has awarded funding through two rounds to 17 companies with contracts completed with 15 companies. The ZIM window awarded funding through three rounds to 31 companies with contracts completed with 28 companies. Each window has a different focus, objectives and geographic spread.