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SABA members meet with Head of Agriculture for DIT Africa to explore development opportunities.

SABA organised and facilitated an exclusive meeting for SABA members to meet with David Burton, DIT Sector Lead for Agriculture in Africa.

Members had a chance to introduce themselves and their interest in Africa with David then giving a presentation on the opportunities across Africa for Scottish businesses, which was then followed by an open discussion for over an hour.

Members who attended included University of Edinburgh, Abertay University, James Hutton Institute, Casammak Aquaculture, Intelligent Growth Solutions, Scotmas, Vet-Intel, Prime Consulting, Aqualife, Ingentium.

A profitable agricultural sector is essential to African countries, contributing half of the continent’s total export value. The World Bank estimates the sector accounts for 20% of the continent’s entire GDP.

Over the next 30 years, Africa will face unprecedented population growth and producing enough food for that increased number of people will be crucial in reducing poverty. UK aid, through the Department for International Development (DFID), is already supporting several separate transformative projects to protect the continent’s agricultural sector and its small farmers.

Additional steps in the ‘from field to fork’ process (harvesting, collecting and transporting, processing and packaging) have increased the risk of food shortages and price rises, which are likely to disproportionally affect the poor. This risk is made worse by the growing threat of climate change to crops, such as the higher risk of drought, flooding and erratic rainfall.

Innovation and working with the private sector and academia will seek to tackle these challenges, ultimately helping to prevent food shortages, price rises and diet-related illnesses, and end hunger around the world.

SABA members are at the forefront of supporting Agricultural innovation and knowledge sharing which is important not just to Scotland but the future of the whole planet.

David welcomed the opportunity to speak directly with Scottish Agribusinesses as the opportunity does not often arise. As a result of these discussions three SABA members were added to project shortlists with two SABA members pursuing opportunities that arose directly from the meeting.

Through the demonstration of innovation and commercialisation, the discussions will look to facilitate further collaboration between businesses in the Scottish agriculture sector, UK Government and African nations supporting economic development, food security and environmental sustainability.

David is now planning to visit Scotland next year to meet in person and for larger meetings with SABA members.

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