With the emergence of agriculture as the leading sector in Africa, there are indications that Nigeria and other countries’ aggregate growing food market in the continent may be worth over $1 trillion yearly by 2030.
A survey by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) obtained by New Telegraph stated this.
Particularly, the report noted that the power of entrepreneurs and the free market is driving Africa’s economic growth from food production to substitute imports with high value food made in Africa.
According to the study, agriculture will be Africa’s quiet revolution, with a focus on SMEs and smallholder farmers creating the high productivity jobs and sustainable economic growth that failed to materialise from mineral deposits and increased urbanisation.
Commenting on this year’s report findings on Africa’s agriculture development, Dr. Agnes Kalibata, President of AGRA, which commissioned the study said: “Africa has the latent natural resources, skills, human and land capacity to tip the balance of payments and move from importer to exporter by eating food made in Africa. This report shows us that agriculture involving an inclusive transformation that goes beyond the farm to agri-businesses will be Africa’s surest and fastest path to that new level of prosperity.”
To succeed, the report explained that Africa’s agricultural revolution needs to be very different to those seen in the rest of world.
It requires an inclusive approach that links millions of small farms to agribusinesses, creating extended food supply chains and employment opportunities for millions including those that will transition from farming.
This is in contrast to the model often seen elsewhere in the world of moving to large scale commercial farming and food processing, which employs relatively few people and requires high levels of capital.
The report also highlighted the opportunity for Africa to feed the continent with food made in Africa that meets the growing demand of affluent, fast growing urban populations on the continent looking for high value processed and pre-cooked foods.
Furthermore, it advocated that this opportunity should be met by many of the continent’s existing smallholder farmers.
Currently, part of this growing demand for Africa’s food is met by imports. These amount to $35 billion per annum and are expected to cost $110 billion by 2025 unless Africa improves the productivity and global competiveness of its agribusiness and agriculture sectors.
The study acknowledged that the private sector holds the key to the transformation of the food system so far.
“Impressive value addition and employment is being created by SMEs along value chains in the form of increased agricultural trade, farm servicing, agro processing, urban retailing and food services. Large agribusinesses such as seed companies, agro processors and supermarkets are also playing an increasing role in the food value chain in many regions,” said Peter Hazell (IFPRI), the technical director of the report.
However, the study is clear that left to the private sector alone, growth in the agrifood system will not be as fast as it could, nor will it benefit as many smallholder farmers and SMEs as it could. Government support is needed to both stimulate and guide the transition.
As a high priority, the governments need to create an enabling business environment and in particular, meet targets to invest 10 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in agriculture, agreed at the 2003 African Union (AU) Summit as part of The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).
The report also urged the governments to nurture a globally competitive food production sector through measures such as increasing infrastructure investment in secondary cities and towns, improving the reliability of energy and water supplies, building more wholesale market spaces, promoting open regional trade. Also included are identifying and investing in first mover crops and introducing stricter standards for food safety and quality.
The authors also call on the governments to stimulate new private public partnerships for more innovative financing and insurance provision, which can lead to increased resilience for farmers and their households. While globally agricultural insurance is a $2 billion business, Africa accounts for less than two percent of the market.
Other fiscal stimulus measures suggested include improving financial regulations, developing better credit-reporting processes, opening up special economic zones, supporting digital warehouse receipt systems and sharing risk with lenders through credit guarantees and matching funds.
The report points out other new opportunities to target support presented by digital technology such as satellite tracking and big data. These can help locate new high value agri-economic zones and smarter financing and food security polices, especially in the face of climate change.
“Smart support is just as important as scale of support for Africa’s highly diverse group of famers and agribusinesses. To step up their game, businesses needs assistance tailored to distinct groups of viable small farms and agribusinesses at different development stages, rather than blanket support for all,” added AGRA President, Dr. Kalibata.
News22 hours ago
VIDEO: Fayose arrives EFCC office in company of Gov Wike
Metro and Crime22 hours ago
NIS rescues 88 trafficked victims in Oyo
Politics9 hours ago
Enugu: The return of Nnamani’s Ebeano political dynasty
Metro and Crime9 hours ago
Protest as LAUTECH hikes tuition fee from N65,000 to N250,000
Metro and Crime9 hours ago
Kidnapping: ‘Madman’ arrested with phone, receives N1.5m alert
News10 hours ago
Primaries: Imo elders petition Buhari against Okorocha
Politics9 hours ago
How APC panel ensured hitch-free primaries In Edo
Metro and Crime10 hours ago
Ex-Nigeria Airways worker dies at verification centre