For many years, AGRA – which is chaired by Kofi Annan – has been focusing on helping African growers to gain better access to the latest varieties, receive training in contemporary growing techniques and improve their sales channels. In addition to its activities around the major agricultural crops, AGRA has now decided to make vegetables one of its priorities. While vegetables represent a healthy addition to the current African diet, growing vegetables also offers the local population numerous opportunities to create value through small-scale farming operations and hence generate their own source of income.
Making the most of chancesOver the years, Rijk Zwaan and AGRA have been in regular contact regarding the role of vegetables in the African agricultural sector. Through its subsidiary RZ Afrisem, Rijk Zwaan is one of the only breeding companies to be working to develop vegetable varieties specifically for Africa. However, good varieties alone are not enough to make the most of the chances for growing vegetables in Africa – the right technical knowledge and approach, training, and logistics and sales support are needed too. AGRA and Rijk Zwaan exchanged ideas on these issues when AGRA’s Board visited The Netherlands last weekend.
The AGRA-party also visited the greenhouse of Dutch tomatogrower Jack Groenwegen, member of growers association Prominent.