COLEACP attending the 6th African Diaspora Agrofood Forum in Brussels

On Friday, 21 October 2022, COLEACP took part in the 6th African Diaspora Agrofood Forum (ADAF), organised by The Food Bridge vsw and hosted by the Brussels city hall. This annual forum brings African Diaspora entrepreneurs, policymakers and expert in the African agrifood sector together to highlight the latest trends and potentials for growth in the agrifood sector. COLEACP contributed to the organisation of the event through the FFM SPS and FFM+ programmes funded by the European Union within the framework of its Development cooperation with the Organisation of the African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS).

Ms Maureen Duru, founder and CEO of The Food Bridge, launched the forum with opening remarks highlighting the potential of African Diaspora Agrofood entrepreneurs and the aim of this initiative to provide a platform for beneficial exchanges and discussions that can help expand their role in the sector. The issues addressed by the speakers (onsite and online) focused on the role of policymaking in building a dynamic African diaspora entrepreneurship ecosystems (panel one); mobilizing African Diaspora entrepreneurs as development actors beyond remittance (panel two); and building a sustainable African Diaspora business paradigm in the agrofood sector (panel three).

COLEACP participated in the first of the three panels moderated by Ms Diana Dimbueni (member, The Food Bridge) and Mr. Anthony Brand (CEO, Coverpoint RCM BV). Ms Maud Delacollette, Regional Programme Manager in the Technical Assistance department, introduced the new FFM+ programme, including the evolution of the conditions to access market in the European Union and the activities performed by COLEACP throughout the programme. Ms Axelle Rupert, Project Manager in the Networks and Alliances department, presented the compendium on African Diaspora Agrofood Entrepreneurs recently published by COLEACP and The Food Bridge. The compendium presents nine African Diaspora companies and aims to enhance the visibility of entrepreneurs from the African Diaspora and their contribution to the economic and social wellbeing of their country of origin, as well as to the development of their country of residence.

During the second panel of the forum, four entrepreneurs from the African Diaspora presented their activities and how they developed it:

Mr. Cyril Sanjoh created his farming company Sanjoh Farms based in Cameroon while being in Belgium with the support of an on-site team. Sanjoh Farms consists of three farms dedicated to mixed organic crop cultivation and livestock production, and sustainable transformation. Its organic products are sold to hotels, restaurants, local customers and international markets at a fair price. The farm works towards improving the soil, air and water quality, as well as to create a sustainable integrated organic farm, and to process and direct market all crops and livestock products.

Ms Hélène Ndaya Kadima presented her company Les Racines de Ndaya created in 2020 producing sustainably skin beauty product using 100% natural, certified organic ingredients purchased from Congolese cooperatives or family-run structures that work in an environmentally friendly manner. The products are available for sale on the online shop of the company. Ndaya plans to sell them in herbal and organic shops first in Belgium, then in Congo and more largely in Africa.

Ms Lucie Adou created in 2019 the company Ladou that processes dehydrated attiéké, a local specialty of the Côte d’Ivoire, using artisanal production techniques. The product is 100% natural, without added flavorings nor preservatives and has a 24-months shelf life. Ladou is being USDA organic certified for entering premium markets in the Middle East. The Ladou attiéké is currently available for sale online and will be soon available in beauty and organic shops in Belgium.

Ms Suzanne Badiane owned a restaurant in Brussels from 1990 to 2013 and later created La Cuisine de Suzanne, a company based in Belgium and Senegal. Suzanne has developed a range of products (seasoning, jams, spices mixes) and recipes with Senegalese indigenous and nutritive products (e.g. baobab, gombo, hibiscus). She shares her knowledge both in Belgium and Senegal by travelling with her own caravan to reach local population (especially rural women) and teach them how to cook local crops to benefit from their nutritional value.

COLEACP supports entrepreneurs, producers and other stakeholders in the agricultural and food system, by providing continuous capacity building, training and technical assistance. Diaspora companies can become beneficiaries of the programmes implemented by COLEACP (e.g. FFM+) if their producing/packing/processing/selling company (including farmer groups/cooperatives) is based in one of the member countries of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States (OACPS). One of the featured entrepreneurs in the compendium who also presented his business at the ADAF 2022, Mr. Cyril Sanjoh, will be supported by COLEACP under FFM+ in addition to contributing to the activities of the COLEACP association as a member.