High Level Conference and Workshop organised by the European Commission, in partnership with African Union Commission, the ACP Secretariat, the Pan African Farmers Organisation (PAFO), the European Investment Bank, the COLEACP and the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA).
Rural and agricultural economy and their value chains have a key role for fostering economic growth, job creation and development in ACP countries. The private sector investments are essential for unlocking this potential.
Structures for co-operation and investment have existed between the EU and ACP Countries for many decades. The EU and ACP institutions and organisations have developed a range of policies and initiatives to increase support for private sector development and for boosting agricultural transformation through innovative business models.
There is a strong sense that more needs to be done, that this is the right time to find new and better ways to work together, as well as deepening the existing channels of cooperation.
Effective partnerships remain to be developed between agri-businesses, key public and private actors and farmers' organisations, in the EU and in ACP countries.
The event brings together partner organisations in the EU (the European Commission and the EIB), the African Union and ACP, agri-businesses and farmers' organisations from EU and ACP countries, international organisations, development agencies and NGOs.
The aim of the conference is to engage stakeholders and partners to work on a common vision for agribusiness investments in ACP Countries in partnership with farmers' organisations. Participants are invited to discuss the best ways to promote investments that seize the opportunities offered by regional and international trade and how to best tackle the challenges ahead.
Investments by agri-business in partnership with farm organisations to add value to agricultural products are crucial to access market opportunities. The event will build on examples of:
- agri-business investments and development;
- success stories and lessons learnt on gaining access to regional and international markets for farmer organisations in ACP countries;
- joint EU agri-business & ACP farmer organisations investments;
- identification of trade obstructions and investment needs (certification, SPS issues etc.);
- inclusive value chains.
The debates are going to be channelled around three main themes:
- Increasing farm incomes by investing in value adding of agri-food chains. To create decent jobs and bring sustainable growth, value needs to be added to the agricultural products. The workshop will focus on showcasing successful examples of 1) value chain management developed and driven by farm organisations, 2) strategies for value addition and marketing initiatives for youth and women. It also will examine access to finance for value chain investments for ACP and EU agri-businesses and farm organisations.
- Facilitating trade and market access for agricultural products. Agricultural trade is part of the solution. The EU is committed to supporting developing countries to integrate into the world's trading system and share in the benefits of the global economy. A better trading system will assure quality standards, improve value adding and market transparency, and ultimately raise incomes for farmers in countries of origin. The conference will focus on agri-business & agricultural dialogues in the context of the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) that provide a necessary stable and predictable framework for responsible agri-food investments and agricultural trade.
- Responsible agri-business investments – a better matchmaking itinerary for agri-business and farmers' organisations in EU and ACP Countries. Responsible investments in agriculture are more important than ever if the sector is to meet the great challenge of feeding the world in a sustainable way. Farmers and agri-businesses need access to agricultural finances, need to boost trade and value adding for key commodities, need a more conducive business environment for private sector investments. The conference will focus on how to better shape this partnership, make it more inclusive and sustainable.
Speakers are expected to illustrate the debate with case studies, analysis and reports on lessons learnt and possible future developments. Different options could be envisaged for the case studies – presentations from private or public sector stakeholder, short movies etc. A market place will be organised at the premises of the conference with posters and stands exhibition: opportunity for agribusinesses, farmers' organisation & NGOs to exchange and present their activities.
The results of the conference will guide European Commission's future activities in this area.