By: Naty Barak- Netafim Chief Sustainability Officer
A couple of weeks ago, I traveled to Abuja, Nigeria to attend the 2014 Grow Africa Investment Forum. This was an exciting opportunity to visit this colorful, diverse nation in the midst a challenging period in its development.
However, the focus was on sustainable food production to meet the ever increasing needs of the African continent.
Grow Africa, formed in 2011by the African Union Commission (AUC), the NEPAD Agency and the World Economic Forum works to increase private-sector investment in African agriculture by supporting partner countries in developing investment blueprints, building a pipeline of investments, and strengthening cross-sector collaboration. It provides support for innovative finance, risk management and partnership building; with the intent of boosting smallholders and agricultural SMEs by tackling constraints to their commercial viability.
As an African-owned, country-led, multi-stakeholder platform, Grow Africa seeks to mobilize private sector investment aligned to CAADP and individual Country Investment Plan priorities. In 2012, Grow Africa was instrumental in prompting private sector commitments totalling over $3bn for specific agriculture investments in seven countries, in collaboration with the G8’s New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition.
The Forum was a great opportunity to network with the continent’s ‘movers and shakers’ and to share Netafim’s clear commitment to providing sustainable solutions in the region. Amongst the many diverse areas I had the pleasure of presenting was Netafim’s pioneering technology called The Family Drip System (FDS) that allows small farmers to radically increase their agricultural yields while simultaneously slashing water consumption.
This in turn elevates their quality of life, which then has a ripple effect through their respective communities. In East Africa, for example, which was struck by a terrible famine in 2012, and in the Sub-Saharan countries, one failed rainy season can mean the difference between life and death. Consequently, using drip irrigation has a great impact.
In other words, using less water is more efficient than drowning crops; besides, in the region, NASA’s satellite images demonstrate how freshwater supplies have all but disappeared in the region, so wasting water is simply no longer an option.
In order to spread this message, Netafim holds workshops and seminars with local, regional and national growers and authorities – particularly in developing countries where the stakes are particularly high.
“Netafim’s remarkable achievements, helping farmers across the world to ‘grow more with less’, are directly contributing to a more water and food secure world. As the global pioneer and leader in drip irrigation, we have always focused on saving water. With water and land scarcity topping the list of today’s major global challenges, we’re leveraging our expertise and experience in drip technology to help combat food price inflation, ensure food security, and achieve water sustainability”.