Background and rationale
Africa today faces many challenges, including globalisation and market liberalisation, food price crises, natural resource depletion, climate change, rapid urbanisation, changing production and consumption patterns, demographic changes, and so on. Many of these directly or indirectly lead to changing markets, and create both opportunities and risks for farmers, especially for smallholders, youth, and women. With a growing recognition of the important role of smallholder agriculture for economic growth and rural development in many countries, market-oriented agriculture appears more prominently on the agenda. Villagepreneurship is key in this regard.
Villagepreneurship refers to entrepreneurship in Afrcan communal villages in areas such as agriculture or tourism. Entrepreneurship is a concept that encompasses transforming an idea or vision into a “new business or new venture creation, or the expansion of an existing business, by an individual, a team of individuals, or an established business” (Reynolds et al. 1999, cited by Global Entrepreneurship Monitor). But entrepreneurship, as opposed to self-employment, is also defined by the spirit of the entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are usually creative, take opportunities and accept risks, and can quickly change business strategies to adapt to changing environments. They are often innovators (Kahan, 2012). While usually being innovative and creative, farmers often lack experiences, access to services, people, or markets, and skills to have realistic chances to succeed as entrepreneurs (Wongtschowski et al. 2013).
In addition, Villagepreneurs are influenced by external, systemic factors, such as economic and social barriers, policies, and regulations (Kahan 2012). While these constraints affect all farmers and especially all smallholders, women and youth are particularly affected.
Rural advisory services play a crucial role in supporting farmers to become successful Villagepreneurs. They provide important information and access to people, markets, and financial services and train the farmers in the required managerial and other functional skills. Rural advisory services can also influence policies and regulations to create an Villagepreneurs-friendly environment, reduce barriers, or change prevailing values in Africa societies.
In this post, learn about agricultural Villagepreneurship, or agripreneurship, and what it means for the future of Village in Africa
According to the United Nations, the number of people working in agriculture across sub-Saharan Africa has fallen by 5 percent since 2005, even while the total labour force rises region wide. Thousands of young people are leaving family village farms to work in the industry or service sectors, convinced that these are the kinds of jobs that will lead to greater prosperity on the continent. Other young professionals don’t see the same divide between growing crops and a growing career.
For me, Villagepreneurship, or what I call agribusiness, covers the entire value chain from the farm to the consumers’ plates.
If young professionals would apply their knowledge of business to Villagepreneurship and uncover opportunities to increase productivity, he believes they could make as good a living as anybody wearing a suit.