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Over the past decade, Africa and other developing regions have been in the midst of tremendous changes. Market liberalisation and governmental decentralisation policies have interfaced with globalisation and urbanisation trends to dramatically transform social, political, economic and cultural lives. Agriculture can no longer remain behind-serving only to meet subsistence food needs. Agriculture has to become a dynamic and integral part of the market economy. If African agriculture is by-passed by the economic transformation going on world wide, then large numbers of Africans and perhaps all of Africa will remain poor and food insecure.

The fundamental purpose behind the FAO initiative to strengthening farm-agribusiness linkages is to help transform the agricultural sector in order to accelerate productivity growth, increase income and employment generation, improve food security, and increase competitiveness in regional and international trade.

In 2001 and 2002 five country case studies on farm-agribusiness linkages were undertaken in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and South Africa. The main purpose of the studies was to get an insight into current farm-agribusiness linking arrangements. This included identifying and analysing successful linkages highlighting different methods and practices as well as exploring key factors that have led to successful partnerships. The country studies also contained a brief agribusiness sector overview.

The work in Africa began with preparation of five case studies which are presented as summary results as well as individually. FAO work on farm-agribusiness linkages emerged from a broader cross-regional study on farm-agribusiness linkages launched in 2000. The first stage was a series of country studies and a regional consultation in Asia. During 2001 and 2002, case studies and a regional workshop on agribusiness linkages were carried out in Latin America. This was followed by a workshop on strategies for improving negotiation and compliance capabilities, held in November 2002 in Peru. An expert consultation on strengthening farm-agribusiness linkages in Africa was held in March 2003 in Nairobi, Kenya.

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