The main drivers of demand for agricultural products are population growth, urbanisation, economic growth and changing diets.
Population growth brings greater demand, urbanisation leads to more people buying food rather than producing their own, economic growth increases purchasing power while changing diets implies that people are opting for diverse, and sometimes healthier, consumption.
Africa is expected to double its population from 1.2 billion to 2.4 billion by 2050, making it the fastest growing region in the world. The continent is also urbanising rapidly. More than 50% of the population still lives in rural areas but this is changing. The continent is expected to have one of the highest urbanisation rates in the world over the next 35 years.
The fact that the growth factors are present on the continent and most are increasing presents opportunities for businesses connected to the agricultural sector. For South Africa, this is a chance to widen opportunities for its struggling agricultural industry. The foundation has been laid by some agro-processing companies and retailers that have successfully set up operations in countries north of the Limpopo River.
Taking the gap
South Africa’s agribusinesses and retailers have set themselves up to take advantage of these opportunities. Its businesses started increasing their participation on the continent soon after 1994 when the country was accepted in the international community.
Supermarket group Shoprite, for example, had 131 stores in 16 countries (excluding South Africa) in 2013. Woolworths has 65 stores in 11 countries; Pick n Pay 110 stores, including joint ventures.
These retailers are usually linked with agribusiness in the home country and thus source most of the food, fresh and processed from South Africa. In return, South African exports of food and agricultural products benefit.
South African exports to the rest of the continent have more than doubled from the mid 1990s to 2014. In 1994, Africa accounted for less than 10% of total exports. By 2014 the continent was the leading destination for agricultural and agro-processed products, accounting for more than 45% of all exports and surpassing some of South Africa’s historical partners in the European Union and the US.
Products that have benefited most are maize, apples, wines and processed food. The main destination countries are Zambia, Angola, Nigeria and Ghana. These countries achieved higher rates of economic growth over the past decade than the global average. Nigeria is not only the most populous country on the continent, but it is now the largest economy. In the last 15 years, Zambia achieved GDP per capita growth of more than four times, from about $400 to $1800. Angola managed an average annual growth rate of more than 10%, supported mainly by oil resources.
Targeting the affluent
General incomes have been growing in most African countries. In the past five years at least four African countries have been making the list of the fastest growing [economies]((https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2014/01/09/these-10-countries-are-set-to-be-the-fastest-growing-economies-in-2014/) in the world. They include Nigeria, Ghana, Zambia, Mozambique and Kenya. In theory, the growing economies improve average incomes and affordability.
But one of the weaknesses with these growth rates and progress in economic growth is that the gains have not been evenly distributed. Income inequality in many countries remains high and continues to increase in others. For example, the wealth gap in Zambia and Nigeria is growing. The richest 20% in Zambia had national income share of about 57% in 1993, and their income share increased to 62% in 2010. In Nigeria, the richest 20% controlled 45% of income in 1985, and then increased to 49% by 2010.
South African companies have targeted the rich segments of the economy. Stores are usually located in the main centres, with high population density, relatively better infrastructure than the rest of the country and generally high income than the rest.
This practice has led to criticism being levelled against South African companies. Resentment from local businesses has been fuelled by the fact that South Africans are not developing local capacities in agro-processing, manufacturing and other value adding activities that will make local products meet the required standards of those retailers.
Africa is not for sissies
Businesses face a number of constraints and potential threats.
Infrastructure in many countries is relatively undeveloped and weak, especially in rural areas. As a result, the cost of moving goods across the continent is higher, making the products unaffordable to many.
There are still concerns about political instability and social unrest even though a great many more African countries have become peaceful over the last 20 years.
There are also concerns about the sustainability of current growth rates. This is because most of the fast growing countries rely on resources for their growth. These include oil, copper, gas, gold and other minerals. These commodities are usually exported in raw form or with little value added and their prices are highly volatile.
Competition from countries such as China, Indian and the developed world is also increasing. Although it is fragmented, it remains a concern.
There is a need to manage trade relations on the continent and deepen integration. The right foundation has been set with the completion of the [SADC free trade]((http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/africa-in-focus/posts/2015/06/17-tripartite-free-trade-area-andriamananjara) area as well as the signing of the tripartite free trade area in June 2015 providing additional access to African markets. This expands duty free markets in 25 countries, a combined population of more than 620 million and aggregated economic value of $1.2 trillion.
Intra-Africa trade is very low at about 10%, but this widening of market access should help to improve that trade. It should also encourage further expansion of South African retailers which in turn will facilitate that intra-Africa trade. South Africa is already the largest contributor to intra-Africa exports, accounting for one third of the total export value. This contribution serves a a useful building block for both deeper economic integration and further capacity development for future growth of the people of the African continent.
Source: THE CONVERSATION
The condition most limiting to growing an avocado tree is cold weather. Hass Avocado varieties are the most cold-hardy, but they can tolerate cold temperatures to only about 20 degrees Fahrenheit. During freezing weather, it helps to drape blankets or tarps over a young tree and anchor the coverings to the ground. If an avocado tree is large, then mounding soil or mulch high on the tree trunk for winter can help the tree survive cold temperatures.
An avocado tree can grow successfully in a variety of soil types and in soil with acidic or alkaline pH levels, but the tree requires soil that has good drainage. It declines in poorly draining and saline soil. Although an avocado tree cannot tolerate wet soil, it needs at least 1 inch of water every week during periods of insufficient rainfall. Not fertilizing the tree until it is 1 year old is recommended. Young trees need four applications of a balanced manure and older trees need twice-yearly applications of a high-nitrogen product applied in early December and late July.
habits as well as their training and trellising requirements. The fruit normally ripens within 25 weeks after the flowers first appear. The fruits range in weight from 40 to 90 g and can be picked shortly after the first frost in autumn; after that, they can be kept in cold storage for 4–6 months at 00 C. Kiwi vines can be grown on a wide range of soil types at elevations ranging from 1000 m to 2500 m.
The kiwi plant is dioecious, meaning individual plants are either male or female. Only female plants bear fruit, but only when pollinated by a male plant. Vines of both sexes are essential for fruit production, and they must flower at the same time to ensure pollination. One male pollinator vine is required for eight female vines. The vines are commonly supported on sturdy structures strong enough to bear the heavy fruit, which might otherwise break the rather weak vines. T-bars or hitching post trellises are recommended to support the large fruiting area in the
form of a canopy and provide easy access to the fruit.
Oranges can be grown from as low as sea level to 200m above sea level. Areas of low humidity are most ideal. Such a climate is important for reduced disease intensity and for acquiring good orange colour. A dry hot day, cool at night climate also favours good color development. Citrus requires temperature ranges from 13oC-38oC. Optimum temperature is 25oC-35oC. Extremely high temperatures may be harmful especially during flowering or if cool temperatures are followed by a hot period. Damage occurs in the form of flower and leaf drop. Wind can also cause serious damage to orange trees and fruits. Hot dry wind will often scorch trees by drying young leaves. Winds of high speeds will scar fruits and cause fruit drop. Where winds are a problem, wind break shelters should be planted
The ideal spot for a mature pawpaw is in a sunny location protected from the wind and endowed with plenty of rich, well-drained soil. The seedling should be protected from direct sunlight for the first year or two, so filter the sun with an open-ended barrel or some netting. After that, full sun is preferred.
Tree Growing papaya trees is generally done from seed that is extracted from ripe fruit. If you are using a fruit from a grocery store, it is most likely going to be a bisexual plant. You should plant several seeds per pot to ensure germination. Under full sunlight, seedlings may emerge in about two weeks. Plants can be set out after they are a foot tall and spaced 8 to 10 feet apart. The seedlings will flower after five or six months.
Pawpaw also grow best in full sun. Papayas like well-drained soil, and because of shallow roots, growing pawpaw trees will not tolerate wet conditions. In addition to proper pawpaw growing conditions, suitable care of pawpaw fruit trees is also important. For pawpaw trees to thrive, they require some fertilizer. Provide young plants fertilizer every 14 days using ¼ pound of complete fertilizer. Fertilize older trees with 1 to 2 pounds of fertilizer once a month. Also, be sure to take a soil sample and amend as necessary.
Grape vines not only produce sweet and versatile fruits, they add an element of drama to a garden or landscape. They are vigorous growers, and with the proper pruning, they will produce fruit with ease and can last longer than 30 years.
The crop prefers warm to hot temperatures; during fruiting, the weather must be sunny and dry. Warm environmental temperatures during fruit ripening, is important in increasing the sugar content of berries while reducing their acidity. This explains why grapes grown under irrigation in hot deserts or semi deserts are sweeter than those from cold humid areas.
The crop can grow in any soil, from sandy to heavy clays but the soil should be deep and well drained. Where the rainfall is scant, supplement it with an irrigation of 500 mm of water during the cropping season. In Kenya, the cropping season is September to March.
Irrigation should be withheld after the long rains so as to force the crop to go dormant.
In August to September, fruit buds form thus it is important to keep the plant healthy and well manured.
There are plenty of health benefits in consuming grapes for they are a rich source of Vitamins- A, C, K and minerals such as iron, copper, manganese.
Soils should be well drained. Wet soils lead to poor aeration and increased incidence of crown rot in apples (Phytophthora cactorum). Generally, rooting tends to be shallow, and wet soils will restrict development, resulting in poor anchorage of the tree and a reduced area of soil from which nutrients can be extracted. Soils with high organic matter contents are normally better structured and allow good rooting.
Irrigation is necessary on dry soils, particularly when establishing and growing young orchards. Trickle irrigation and fertigation are increasingly used. In young orchards fertigation helps increase early tree growth and brings trees into bearing earlier. Sprinkler irrigation can be used to protect the tree buds and fruitlets against frost damage.
Sowing of a grass mulch between the tree rows is common practice, which together with any clippings, helps to increase water holding capacity, infiltration rate, soil aggregation and recycling of nutrients.
Apples prefer a slightly acidic to neutral soil (pH between 5.8 and 7.0). Extreme soil pH values result in nutrient tie-up or toxicity and poor tree and fruit development. It is important to amend the pH in acidic soils by incorporating lime before planting