African Agriculture across the continent is made up of 80% smallholder farmers who are slowly organising themselves into clusters of up to 100 farms to achieve economies of scale (large enough to trade economically as a group). Unfortunately they suffer from an endless cycle of poverty because they lack basic access to local, regional and international price information and in most cases have no access to market which sees them selling their products at undervalued prices and leaving them excluded from the value chain.
However, despite these challenges, two trends are leading to new opportunities to access and bring business services to small farmers who currently are not being served. First, the growing income of the African middle-class leading to a higher demandfor agriculturalproducts. Second the commercialization of smallholder farmers driven by the countries national agricultural growth objectives.
The potential employment and income benefits of biofuels in Africa are enormous. It is estimated that the jobs-to-investment ratio for biofuels is about 100 times higher than for crude oil refineries. Expanded agricultural production of biofuels feedstocks would provide farm jobs, as well as opportunities for smallholders farmers to expand production into new cash crops. By focusing on crops that can grow in semi-arid agro-ecological zones, economic activity through business support services could revive poor rural economies that currently have few other options.