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Thursday, August 17, 2017

From farmer to chef — Developing the African cuisine value chain


African cuisine: New innovations in the food industry, one of the world’s oldest and largest industries, are creating attractive opportunities on the African continent.

With unusual blends of spices and bold flavours, ingredients and techniques from African regions have emerged as the new gastronomic trend in kitchens around the world.

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As on other continents, the agro-food industry plays a fundamental role in the creation of income and employment opportunities in Africa’s developing economies.

A rising gastronomical and entrepreneurial energy is transforming the African scene, with African chefs strongly advocating for sustainable, local food systems.

These businesses are not only meeting growing local and regional demand for locally produced and wholesome foods, but also creating an incubator for culinary quality and artistry. High-profile chefs, young “foodpreneurs” and institutions across the continent are developing concepts ranging from food trucks and fast-food chains to stand-alone fine dining restaurants that revolve around plant-forward menus.

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At 1.2 billion today, Africa’s population is projected to more than double by 2050. Youth form the majority of Africa’s population and the majority of the unemployed. Empowering them through government and private sector programmes to create enterprises along the agricultural value chain while feeding Africa will go a long way towards optimising the sector and could lead to the realisation of a demographic dividend.

Such programmes could focus on practical business skills, including proposal development and communication, as well as on life skills and interpersonal skills. Through the introduction of incubation centres, programmes could help young people acquire the technical skills, technologies and market knowledge they need to transform entrepreneurial ideas into viable enterprises.

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