CNBC Africa | 26 Jan 2022 [see excerpts below]
African Agriculture Inc: Food Security and Reforestation on the Sahara Desert
Global awareness for the environment is increasing, alongside Africa’s potential role. There is a necessity for a transfer of technologies, knowhow, capital resources and capacity building which developed nations can provide to Africa. Join CNBC Africa as we take you on the journey to explore some of these resources what can be done to increase food security and reforestation of the Sahara Desert.
Frank Timis, founder, African Africulture Inc:
"I know West Africa very well. I operate in 7 countries. In the last few years I said I think it's time to change. I would like to build one of the largest farming and environment corporations on the African continent, consider that Africa has about 60% of the world's arable land.
So I bought a farm from an Italian group in 2018. I have invested a substantial amount of money on the farm so far. The strategy is to grow proteins for livestock feed for the region. If you look at the numbers it's 100 million cattle to fee in the region. Also for export, probably, to the Middle East and other places where its required.
We're looking at two types of alfafa: a type of alfalfa of very high quality for feeding livestock and probably a separate for biomass, considering the environment and the regulation is getting stricter and stricter today.
We are in the process of applying and getting over one million hectares of high quality land with high quality water. Part of it will be for alfalfa. But the biggest, largest part is going to be for environment. I believe environment is a key factor going forward."
"At the moment we are in a partnership with the United States government, which is fantastic - most powerful country on the planet. We are in a joint venture also with one of the most prestigious universities in the United States related to agriculture. They have over 2000 scientists related to agriculture, related to environment, related to training."
"We want ot be the first, the most successful, prestigious and the largest. My strategy is to build something which no one has done before: protein for animals and biomass for green fuel. Natually, the biggest strategical investment will be related to protecting desertation in the Africa corridor. We will start in West Africa, but we are also focusing on East Africa."
Alan Kessler, Chair and CEO, African Agriculture Inc:
"Alfalfa represents the world's highest sourced concentration of vegetation-based protein. Alfalfa gives us a great start. This will give us a high turnover, highly leveragable, extremely high margin cash-flow source that will enable us to execute on our corporate projects. Alfalfa, in addition to being a very high protein source for dairy cattle and for livestock which are abundant in the ECOWAS region, also has a very high caloric value in terms of biomass."
Wade Baugartner, LSU:
"This is going ot be a unique partnership because our current international partnerships are with other universities and this is going to be the first one with more of a private company. So I think there are diffrent opportunities that we're going to have to branch out with that. But I think the ability to create from the ground up with a private entity a training programme, an educational programme, outreach, and to establish some research oppoturtunities to look at how some of our agronomic resources, genetic resources, perform in the environment in Senegal is going to be good. And so in 5 years what I'd like to see is a true collaborative programme with the sharing of knowledge to fullfill the university's mission to do education and outreach and to support economic development. And I'd like to see connections made that lead to reciprocal trade and different opportunities beyond what the university can do.