Africa spends &75bn yearly to import over 100m metric tonnes of cereal
By Favour Nnabugwu
Africa is said to spend a whopping $75billion yearly to import over 100 million metric tons of cereals alone
President of the Africa Development Bank, Mr Akinwunmi Adesina revealed this at the just concluded Dakar Summit, Senegal
Adesina said the continent does not produce enough food to feed its people and is overly dependent on food imports, which are themselves subject to volatile world prices and inflationary pressures.
Although, agriculture he admitted, is one of the main economic sectors and sources of employment in Africa, current production practices are too often outdated, small scale and unsuited to the demands of markets and a fast-growing population.
Food production continues to rely heavily on small-scale and near subsistence producers; whereas as Adesina has said, agriculture should be viewed as a business.
To improve farmers’ productivity and incomes, reduce post-harvest losses and increase agricultural output, and strengthen agro-food value chains, he said the AfDB is focusing on providing modern technologies, quality seeds and inputs, modernizing agricultural tools, setting up standard processing infrastructures and adding value.
The aim is to move from traditional subsistence agriculture to a modern and competitive African agro-industrial sector that can feed the entire African continent and even compete on international markets.
Speaking on the rising food prices in the world, noted that said impact on households in Africa is serious exacerbating poverty. In sub-Saharan Africa, households spend up to 40 percent of their budget on food compared to 17 percent in developed economies.
According to him, “65 percent of the world’s remaining arable land is in Africa, which also has the most youthful and dynamic population of any continent”
All these, he said are some of the reasons the African Development Bank believes Africa is capable of feeding not only itself but the world’s 9 billion people by 2050.
“The African Development Bank views agriculture and agribusiness as a strategic priority for several reasons.
Securing food sovereignty the right of states to determine their own agricultural and food policies is critical to African countries overall economic and social development.”
“Recent external shocks, including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, further demonstrated that Africa remains over-reliant on imports of food staples and agricultural inputs”
“Agriculture is also the mainstay of most African economies and a major employer of Africans”