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African Rural Agriculture is the economic backbone of all the economies, contributing in excess of 25% of all the African countries' GDPs. Even then, the farmers who support rural agriculture are poor, with over 80% of the very poor in most of these countries living in rural areas.

The challenge is what to do to make rural agriculture the vehicle for sustainable development that creates wealth for its proponents. If poverty were to be a thing of the past, then African countries would join the ranks for other developing, or even developed economies. For we would process our produce, and create cottage industries at the place where production takes place, making it possible to initiate development where its foundation should be, at its source.

We created an institute, Value Addition and Cottage Industry Development in Africa (VACID Africa) Institute to evolve models for the realization of wealth creation perspectives in rural areas. The current organizational, platform is the Aquaculture, Value Addition, Agribusiness and Knowledge (AVAAK) Centers. Our effort now is to create many such centres and from them create a network that can support the cause for which we are sworn to evolve.

Below is the organizational framework or model of an AVAAK Center:
AVAAK_Model.png
We use flexible collaboration, learning, and knowledge initiatives that help us address identified gaps. Consequently, all our VAAKs are equipped with the ability to deliver learning in the areas depicted in the model to the left as below:
i. Entrepreneurship
ii. GIS Services and Training
iii. Web Content Development
iv. Food and Nutrition
v. Investment & Finance
vi. Agribusiness & Agroindustry

As a knowledge organization, we deliver our interventions through our online and in-person training programmes that are facilitated through curricula that have been evolved jointly by our staff with international partners such as Cisco Entrepreneur Institute, Telecentre.org Foundation, Intel Corporation Inc. Our local business partners have also been instrumental in fashioning our programmes to suit local needs. Next is a description of the programmes that define each component.

Entrepreneurship


Entrepreneurship is therefore the foundation of all knowledge, which explains why all global literature comprises of cases study on successful entrepreneurs. If entrepreneurs did not do what they do, the professors who succeed by studying what worked, or what made what was expected to work fail, would have no papers to write.

As well documented, Entrepreneurship is the art and science that possesses an individual to enable him address a new dimension of doing business, or noticing a new opportunity that established or existing businesses do may not have noticed. We refer to the person with the entrepreneurship spirit as an entrepreneur.

The practice of training communities and the people who form community organizations to become entrepreneurs is the focus of VACID Africa’s engagement in the AVAAKs. We promote the acquisition of knowledge in new technologies, acquisition of new skills, and ways of seeing possibilities using platforms and technologies that many may not know and through their use create business ideas that are easily exploited through the business models we create collaboratively..

GIS Services and Training


The key cost driver in dealing with grassroots stakeholders is the localization of where they are. By mapping the locations where to find them and making them (as individuals or businesses) reachable easily through GPS driven solutions, we help reduce the cost of doing business. Training locals to undertake the GPS work enables us to collect the data with which to work at a convenient pricing. We appreciate that the knowledge created promotes more localized knowledge and hence work to collaborate with the trained service providers as our partners and service providers.

Web Content Development


The internet has no doubt reduced the time it takes to propagate ideas, present and sell a product to the market and through mobile solutions delivery payments to the most remote areas. The presentation of such ideas, products or concepts is the content created as interlinked documents called web pages. Learning how to create web pages requires training in programming and design using various presentation software solutions. We provide training for this service and support learners to link with our team to promote synergy in collaboration. Our trainees become mentored developers of websites whose clients we seek. We link the graduates housed at the AVAAKs to clients once we are certain the quality of their work merits association with our output.

Food and Nutrition


We work with farmers whom traders who procure their produce exploit a great deal. One of the reasons why farmers lose out so greatly is that they do now know the true value of what they sell. Training them to understand the nutrition and preparation of the foods they produce in localized community kitchens presents a new dimension to consumption and packaging of produce for the market by individuals who know. We train and support communities to package nutritious food products preserved, and delivered to the market. This links with the aquabusiness, agribusiness or value addition concept for which communities invest in processing resources that then form the agroindustries that are the focus of our engagement. We link them with technology developers.

Investment & Finance


We link our organization and grassroots collaborators with the financial system to help our grassroots members receive payment for what they sell, and pay for what they buy, without having to incur punitive costs to achieve this focus. We appreciate the constraints of getting partners who can co-invest with the communities and plan how to finance the investment. We ensure that the training programmes we offer to the communities’ presents them with local solutions from local people that they can reach easily and fast.

Aquaculture, Agribusiness & Agroindustry


Aquabusiness or agribusiness is a term widely used to denote the practice of superimposing business onto aquaculture or agriculture. This business orientation is applied both to crop based production, livestock, and aquaculture. Aquaculture or Agribusiness refers to the range of activities, disciplines, and organizations that straddle the value chain activities (actual or facilitative), ranging from pre-production, to production, to harvesting, to storage, to processing or value addition, and finally to the eventual marketing of the produce to generate wealth for the producers.

Agroindustry therefore is the industrial processing undertaken on agricultural produce to create wealth for the investors in the agroindustry. They may be individuals or a collective of producers.

We train individuals and communities in aquabusiness, agribusiness, and agroindustry development and link them to access resources for managing aquabusiness, agribusiness, and agroindustry to preserve their produce for the market. Aquabusiness, Agroindustries and agribusiness are of course entrepreneurship programmes that owners undertake at the business layer of value addition, given prominence, to emphasize the value in linking technology to aqua- or agri- production in relation to business. We collaborate with universities and technology organizations to promote the practice of agribusiness and agro industry development.