FAO’s work on diaspora and agribusiness
Diasporas are key players in sustainable development. For instance, diaspora communities support food security and agri-food systems in their countries of origin, through capital investments, skills and technology transfer, know-how and social networks. However, despite the increasing recognition of diaspora as development actors, several barriers to diaspora’s investments in agribusiness remain, such as lack of information on investment opportunities, the remoteness of rural areas, and the limited partnership interaction between rural institutions and diaspora associations, among others.
Creating an enabling environment for diaspora to engage in the development of their country of origin is key to maximizing the development impact of their activities. FAO advocates for the key role played by diaspora communities, in partnership with organizations such as ADEPT, while also acting as a bridge between rural stakeholders and diaspora associations in several countries of origin.
In particular, FAO works with governments to strengthen multi-stakeholder policy dialogue and functional capacities with the aim of facilitating diaspora contributions to home-country agriculture and rural development. On the other hand, the Organization works with diaspora communities and agripreneurs, empowering them as agents of development and facilitating their contributions to the agri-food sector of countries of origin.
In the case of Uganda, FAO is carrying out the project Strengthening capacity to harness positive effects of migration, in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Diaspora Department) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, in order to boost income-generating opportunities in agribusiness. The project is enhancing diaspora representation in policy dialogue, while also supporting diaspora agripreneurs in scaling up their development initiatives in Uganda.
To this purpose, FAO has organized the first Ugandan Diaspora Agri-food Investment Conference and Diaspora Award to celebrate successful diaspora agripreneurs and their contributions to their communities of origin. The Conference took place on 12 November 2020 and brought together around 200 participants from Ugandan diaspora agripreneurs and networks, youth agripreneurs, Government institutions and private sector. The event provided an opportunity for diaspora agripreneurs to present their businesses, discuss challenges related to investing in agribusiness, and connect with Ugandan young agripreneurs. In addition, the Conference hosted an award ceremony aimed at celebrating successful diaspora entrepreneurs who contribute to employment creation in the agri-food sector of Uganda. Three Ugandans, selected through a call for proposals, were awarded as the best agribusiness investors of 2020. Read the story of one of the Award winners here: http://www.fao.org/fao-stories/article/en/c/1364902/
The project is also contributing to empower diaspora agripreneurs by providing legal aid and agribusiness skills training to reinforce their employability in the agribusiness sector in Uganda as well as setting up the first Uganda diaspora in agribusiness network.
In order to further recognize diaspora organizations as development partners, FAO has selected the diaspora-led organization Poultry Farmers’ Empowerment Hub Ltd (PFEHL) to set up and launch the diaspora network that will act as a bridge between diaspora, migration, and agricultural stakeholders. In the next few months, FAO, FFEHL and the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries will continue joining efforts to formalize the diaspora network as well as foster agribusiness matching between diaspora investors and Ugandan youth agripreneurs.