Vestergaard’s products enable smallholder farmers to increase food security and financial stability while also allowing us to work toward our SDGs.

Africa boasts more than half of the world’s arable land, high crop yield growth potential (to match developed nations) and a workforce encompassing more than 60% of the population.

Investing in Africa’s agriculture sector offers significant opportunities and also encourages economic empowerment, which contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Adopted by the United Nations in 2015, these aim to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.

But food availability is not enough

Food security is considered one of the most important factors in developing strategies to alleviate poverty. In Africa, agriculture is expected to both produce food and help people emerge from poverty.1 Smallholder farmers dominate African agriculture, a sector that is often the target of agricultural support by donors. The expectation is that if the gap between actual and potential yields can be closed, smallholders will grow enough crops to feed their families, with a surplus to sell. This would satisfy food security needs and bring the family an income to move out of poverty.

But while existing technology could in theory increase yields by three or four times, farmers are often restricted by the small size of their land and the amount of crops they can grow. Often their per capita income leaves them in extreme poverty, which is defined by the World Bank as living on less than $1.90 per day.

Availability of sufficient food is a necessary condition for food security. But the availability of enough food in the aggregate is not sufficient for food security.

Amartya Sen, Indian economist and philosopher

Since poor people earn a majority of their income from farming and spend a large share of their income on food, they are vulnerable to both high food prices and declines in agricultural output.2 This has left an opening for the private sector to innovate for solutions to the food security and poverty problem in Africa.

Vestergaard’s innovative storage technology combined with its micro-warehouse and trading platform is helping smallholder farmers to increase food security and build financial stability.

References

1 Matsuda H. et al. (2020) Framing Food Security and Poverty Alleviation. In: Mino T., Kudo S. (eds) Framing in Sustainability Science. Science for Sustainable Societies. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-9061-6_8.

2 Will Martin. Food security and Poverty – a precarious balance. Available from: https://blogs.worldbank.org/developmenttalk/food-security-and-poverty-a-precarious-balance [Accessed 05 March 2020].