African agricultural markets: Towards priority actions for market development for African farmers

13-15 May 2009 in Nairobi, Kenya

The critical role markets play in improving food production and livelihoods of Africa’s millions of smallholder farmers is widely recognized. African food markets and marketing systems should be catalyzing small farm growth on the continent. They are not. New approaches are needed to create vibrant food markets.

The record-high levels of today’s food prices are a blessing for some food producers able to increase their production and profits and a curse for millions of poor net food buyers finding it more and more difficult to feed their families. To make high value and staple food markets work for smallholder farmers while providing affordable food for poor consumers, we know we need better markets. We also need incentives that encourage both a pro-poor and a pro-growth Green Revolution for Africa.

To improve markets and market incentives for the poor, this conference was held to discuss practical strategies for lowering the high transaction costs of food marketing and intra-regional trade; determining appropriate, equitable and safe food standards and grades; and helping small-scale entrepreneurs access good market information and add value to food production processes.

The three-day conference brought together some 150 market practitioners, investors, private actors, policymakers and researchers to determine how agricultural markets can help stimulate a uniquely African Green Revolution. Evidence will be synthesized to guide new market interventions and experiments by development practitioners and investors.

For more information, please visit the conference website at