Nigeria’s agribusiness Agrolay Ventures goes against the grain

Aiming to keep Africa's food value chain local

Ada Osakwe founder and chief executive of Agrolay Ventures speaks at the Global Landscapes Forum. Global Landscapes Forum, Bonn, Germany. GLF/Pilar Valbuena
6 February 2019
Julie Mollins

Importing food that could be produced locally costs the continent of Africa around $40 billion a year, said a leading entrepreneur at the recent Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) in Bonn, Germany.

Ada Osakwe, formerly an investment advisor in Nigeria’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, decided to try her hand at reshaping the food value chain to keep financial benefits local.

To do so, she launched agribusiness firm Agrolay Ventures. The investment company seeks out young people working in sustainable food-related industries using locally sourced products. So far, Agrolay has invested between $10,000 and $200,000 in early stage enterprises.

“It was about how do I start investing, transforming that narrative and making sure that we were keeping entrepreneurship on the continent going in the space of agriculture,” said Osakwe.

In Africa, about 80 percent of farmers are women who have the potential to transform livelihoods and change the world, she said.

“I’m very passionate about gender lens investing and thinking about more women being involved when it comes to money.”

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