Supporting Diaspora investment in agri-food systems with research and funding

  • 27th April 2018
  • by secretary

25 April 2018. Bouchout Castle, Botanic Garden Meise Belgium. African Diaspora Agro Food Forum 2018.

The report of this meeting is forthcoming.

30 participants (agro entrepreneurs from the African Diaspora) were selected to participate in this forum based on a call for registration and the respondents to a survey which was held in 2017.

Many in the African diaspora communities across the globe are still actively engaged with their home countries through economic, cultural, social, political and even religious links.

For many of these Africans and their descendants, it is not just enough to be successful in foreign lands, they also want to make positive contributions to their home land and those left behind. Over the years, many have engaged in various economic ventures to support family members and to give back to their society. This is mainly through

Lunch at the castle

remittance running into millions of euros sent back home each year. Despite these, one persistent issue in the continent is food insecurity.

Food security in Africa ranks quite high in the list of the development policies of African governments, global agencies and donor countries. African entrepreneurs in the agriculture and food production sector in the continent are receiving support from global agencies, yet the relevance of the Africans in Diaspora in the agriculture and food sector in Africa, is given minimal attention.

For the African diasporas, eating ‘home’ food is an important part of their daily lives in different parts of the world. There are many ‘African shops’ stocked with food grown in the continent in different cities in the developed countries. Thus insuring that there is a sustainable agriculture, producing safe food in Africa is also of importance to many in the diaspora, as well as a continuous flow of ‘home’ food from Africa to the different African diaspora communities.

A sizeable section of African diaspora is present in India – in the form of students, diplomats, workers of different governments of Africa and tourists. African companies can easily export African processed food to cater to this population. Urban India is increasingly showing tendencies to consume foods of different continents, and therefore food and agro-based exports from Africa have a potential market in India. Indian and respective agricultural ministries of African countries should have an active cooperation for such exports of African foods and agro-based products. (PAEPARD blogpost 29/10/2015)

The African Diaspora Agro Food Forum 2018 was an opportunity to link research to diaspora investments in agricultural value chains, particularly in food processing.

  • The purpose was to bring together development experts, policy makers, financial experts, African diaspora entrepreneurs and representatives of diaspora communities/entrepreneurs, to discuss the role and potentials of the African diasporas in the agribusiness and food sector and the link with research. 
  • The African diaspora food market is expanding across the globe, yet many have no information about this market, its content and impact on the economic development of Africa. There is no existing data mapping the progression of this trade because it is not given as much attention as other African food exports for mainstream food markets in Europe. 

The discussions in the 3 panels focused on:

  1. African Diaspora food market
  2. African Diasporans in agribusiness: Food security in the continent and opportunities in Agribusiness and food production for job creation in African and abroad 
  3. Supporting Diaspora investment in agri-food systems with research
  4. Supporting Diaspora investment in agri-food systems with Funding opportunities 

Extracts of the programme:

The African Diaspora Food market

Diaspora, Food and Identity
Nigerian Migrants in Belgium
2017, 311 pages
  • Maureen Duru, Founder The Food Bridge vzw – Why African Diaspora Food matters

    The African Diaspora communities in Belgium today all have a food history. Culinary knowledge acquired through trial and error  helps  migrants to satisfactorily utilize food from their new environment to recreate the taste from  home. The innovative nature of Diasporan foodways can only be appreciated, when one examines its history.

    Once a diaspora community is fully established, it becomes a dynamic component of locality, although made up of people whose roots may lie somewhere else.  This means that the increased demand for their food, leads to new business opportunites, that can only be taken advantage of, by people with the right resources. Many in Belgium and other countries too,  involved in the supply end of the food system are only interested in the economic values.

    With the rate shops are springing up in different cities, there is no doubt that these investments are rewarding. The African diasporas food market in

    Mr Solomon Agyin interviewed by Francois Stepman

    Belgium is an anomaly, because Africans roles are mainly as consumers while they rely on others for the supply of their ethnic food.

    We have a new generation of Africans who are of Belgian origin, born and raised here, whose main link to Africa is not in the language or even culture but the food.  However 

    some of what we accept as normal, will not be allowed in other communities. For example, pounded yam flours. This is an important food item, yet no one has bothered to question why a flour labelled and sold as pounded yam, has no yam (but potato!)  in it or why a food item should be labelled as product of Africa.

    The Solomon warehouse
    is about 1500 square meters


  • Chika Onyejiuwa, Executive secretary Africa Europe Faith and Justice Network (AEJFN)- Analysis of a sample survey of the African Diaspora food Market
    104 respondents have filled in the African Diaspora Food and Agribusiness Survey.
    61 respondents have replied to the French version.
  • Mr Solomon Agyin, Founder King Solomon Warehouse Cash and Carry Antwerp – African 
    Food Marketing in Belgium

African Diasporans in agribusiness 

  • Suzanne Awung Nvenekeng – Founder Suzzy Farms Cameroun
  • Odile Ano (see picture) Founder 1001 Noyaux France

    Le projet 1001Noyaux répond au problème de gaspillage alimentaire sur le marché de gros sur la région parisienne et d’une opportunité de valoriser une partie de ces denrées pour le secteur de la cosmétique. L’équipe intervient dans la récupération des fruits à noyaux invendus en vue de sa valorisation pour le secteur de la cosmétique. La première phase est la récupération des mangues invendues et non commercialisables pour sa transformation en beurre de mangues. C’est un ingrédient cosmétique qui a des propriétés similaires au beurre de karité.
    1001Noyaux répond aux exigences d’achat éco-responsable de l’industrie cosmétique en lui fournissant un beurre de mangue de qualité s’inscrivant dans un schéma d’économie circulaire. L’ objectif est de valoriser les mangues non commercialisables mais propres à la consommation en respectant les principes

    du développement durable :
    Economique: création de valeur par la transformation en ingrédient cosmétique.
    Social : création d’une activité professionnelle pour les personnes en réinsertion.
    Environnemental : réduction des impacts environnementaux liés à la non commercialisation des fruits exotiques sur le territoire français.

  • Rachel Silendie-Van Fleteren – Meat processing in Africa
    PVF Food Ingredients is a young company with the objective of the sale and distribution of various products to the entire food industry. Click here for more information on PVF Food Ingredients.
  • Dominic WAMICAMAFRA Organic

    MAFRA ORGANIC is a new, exciting and modern way to buy tea, spices, honey and other infusion teas in which a community is actively involved in creating tea blends and sharing tea experiences. This reinforces the customer’s involvement in the experience of exotic MAFRA ORGANIC products while encouraging originality and healthy living.
    The online store MAFRA ORGANIC offers a wide range of tea, spices, pure honey, rooibos and other infusions. MAFRA ORGANIC exclusively offers a new tea concept from Central Africa: SINDA, BULUKUTU, and MORINGA.

  • Zilipa Nyirabyago– Solidev Coffee Producers Rwanda
  • Oceane Vildeuil of LUM ARTEMISSA – Supporting local communities in RDC to grow Artemissa for consumption against malaria

Supporting Diaspora investment in agri-food systems with research

Supporting Diaspora investment in agri-food systems with Funding opportunities