Sustainable Agriculture in Africa: Connecting Farmers to Markets 

How African Small Farmers Can Connect with Buyers

On May 4, the Global Policy Institute and Bay Atlantic University held another webinar within their Sustainability Series titled:

Sustainable Agriculture in Africa: Connecting Farmers to Markets

This event was held in partnership with Bahcesehir University CIFAL Istanbul, and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).

Full Video:

Event Summary

Smallholder farmers are the driving force of the food sector in Africa.  Of the myriad of policy, climate, input, and management challenges faced by these entrepreneurs, one of the most pressing, and addressable, is the requisite infrastructure to produce and transport food more efficiently to the market. This includes but is not limited to post-harvest handling, storage, transport, and fragmented distribution channels.

Long known as the earth’s breadbasket, Africa holds 60% of the world’s remaining arable land.  With abundant sunshine, plentiful rainfall, and fertile soil, the potential to create millions of rural-based inclusive jobs, improve yields and quality, expand exports, and ultimately achieve food and nutritional security across the Continent and beyond is real.  However, despite growing demand and decades of local and international efforts, African agriculture is still perceived as a high-risk investment.

In this webinar two experts discussed one of the most noted and urgent challenges to realizing this potential; namely, helping farmers get their respective harvests to the market in a timely and affordable manner.

Andrew Mack is the Founder and CEO of Agromovil, a company that has developed a mobile supply chain platform that helps farmers connect with buyers to see new opportunities, sell direct, and find optimized transport to get products to market more efficiently and profitably.  He spoke about post-harvest losses: approximately 30% of the produce harvested never gets to the market.  Agromovil functions as an arranger, NOT an intermediary.  The platform requires almost no infrastructure on the ground, making it easy to scale.  Furthermore, the platform is growing quickly, with users ranging in age from 17 to 71, via relationships with banks, government agencies and mobile providers.

Dimieari Von Kemedi, Co-Founder and CEO of Alluvial Trade and AngalaFintech, shared his background which led him to transition from being a farmer to developing a community block farming model where he organizes and services large groups of smallholder farmers who collectively have 500 or more contiguous hectares (~1,240 acres) of land.  Herein, in addition to providing a wide range of services (finance, land preparation, mechanized tilling, weeding, harvesting, etc.), the farmers can take advantage of economies of scale in terms of purchasing inputs, storage, and sales in much the same way as a commercial farm.  Alluvial is currently working with over 100,000 farmers in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Ethiopia, Uganda and Rwanda.  Their vision is to work with and impact directly 2,000,000 farmers across Africa over the next five years.

When asked about other main constraints for African agriculture, both speakers mentioned irrigation and better agricultural practices (Global GAP) as top priorities.  Another critical point that was mentioned is the associated behavioral change that goes along with adopting new approaches and technologies.

Speakers Bios

Andrew Mack, CEO and Founder of Agromovil

Andrew Mack is CEO and Founder of Agromovil, an award-winning app platform linking farmers, transporters and purchasers to dramatically improve the efficiency of small scale agriculture. The platform has over 1,400 users in Colombia, and is expanding into Africa, Central America and the US. Agromovil has won support from the Toyota Mobility Foundation, Ernst and Young, Carnegie Mellon, and the Walton Family Foundation among others, and is currently working with US Department of Agriculture. A former World Bank official and banker and owner of AMGlobal Consulting, Mack is internationally-recognized for his work on Corporate Social Responsibility, public-private partnership, and entrepreneurship.  Mack holds a BA Magna Cum Laude from Amherst College and a MA from Johns Hopkins. He speaks and works in Spanish, French and Portuguese.

Dimieari Von Kemedi, Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Alluvial Agriculture and Angalafintech

Dimieari Von Kemedi is the co-Founder and CEO of Alluvial Agriculture, a private sector group working to provide direct access to finance, technology, mechanization, inputs and markets for 100,000 African farmers and is growing this service to reach two million farmers. Kemedi recently also co-founded Angalafintech, a company that provides payment, lending and agent bank services to small businesses.


Adam Saffer is the CEO of Gateway Development International, a boutique impact investment and consulting firm focused on frontier and emerging market.  He is an international business and development professional with over 35 years’ experience managing private companies and donor funded programs in frontier and emerging markets. He has designed, managed, and evaluated scores of projects with the past decade being focused on agriculture.  He started his career in Africa with Schlumberger Limited and later moved into the economic development sector.  He has deep experience in developing partnerships and strategic alliances, designing and delivering capacity building training and technical assistance, behavioral science and creating rural jobs, with a strong emphasis on the environment and women and youth empowerment.  He is known for building, leading, and inspiring teams and turning around under-performing projects and companies in dynamic, political, and complex cross-cultural environments. Adam works closely with host country governments, trade associations, NGOs/CSOs, and private companies. He has an extensive global network and excellent analytical and communication skills. Adam holds a Mechanical Engineering degree (Cornell University), an MBA (Harvard Business School), a Ph.D. in Political Science (Pacific Western), and serves on the Board of the Global Policy Institute in Washington, DC.

Welcoming remarks

Paolo von Schirach, President Global Policy Institute and Chair Political Science and International Relations, Bay Atlantic University