Public-private partnerships are becoming more and more popular as a financing strategy in Africa’s agricultural sector. The phenomenon is driven by a desire to transform « traditional » farming into capital-intensive farming that will speed up agricultural growth and meet demand for food. The desire to tap into private investment in order to boost the agricultural sector can take the form of a number of different policies, one of which is the agricultural growth pole (or ‘agropole’). Although these processes are more advanced in some countries than in others, they have already sparked debate about several issues relating to the large-scale entrepreneurial farming model that is being promoted and their ability to help resolve current challenges relating to food and nutritional security in Africa. There are a number of important questions to examine with respect to growth poles. Do they actually support the development of competitive and inclusive supply chains for small family farms? What risks do these approaches pose for family farming? This document will provide an overview of the emergence of growth poles in Africa, assess their performance in a few different countries (Burkina Faso, Cameroon) and analyse their initial impacts and potential risks.
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