The power of entrepreneurs and free-market will bring Africa’s economic growth from food production when the opportunity presents itself of a food market rapidly growing in Africa.
This market, estimated at more than $ 1 trillion by the year 2030, is expected to replace imports with high-value foods produced in Africa. This is the main conclusion of the latest report on the State of Agriculture in Africa (AASR), launched today on the occasion of the 2017 Forum for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRF).
According to the report, agriculture will be at the origin of the quiet revolution in Africa, focusing on SMEs and small farmers, which create high-productivity jobs and sustainable economic growth. the strong urbanization could not realize until then.
Although 37 percent of the African population currently lives in urban centers, most jobs have been created in lower-paying and less productive services rather than in industry, with services accounting for more than half of continent.
Smart investments in the food system can change this reality significantly if proper planning is done.
“Africa has potential natural resources, skills, human capacities and land that can reverse the balance of payments and move from importer to exporter status by consuming foods produced in Africa,” he said. “said Dr Agnes Kalibata, President of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) at the launch of the report.
Dr. Kalibata welcomed the report which, she stressed, “shows us that agriculture involving inclusive transformation, which goes beyond the farm to integrate agro-business will be the safest and the fastest for Africa if it is to achieve this new level of prosperity “.
To succeed, the African agricultural revolution must be very different from those observed elsewhere in the world. This requires an inclusive approach that combines millions of small farms with agrifood enterprises, creating extensive food supply chains and employment opportunities for millions of people, including those who will transition to agriculture. This is different from the model often seen elsewhere in the world where there has been a switch to large-scale commercial and food-processing agriculture with relatively little employment and high levels of capital.
The report highlights the opportunity for Africa to feed the continent with food produced in Africa, which respond to the growing demand of rich urban populations, which are increasing in the continent, research of processed and pre-cooked foods of high value.
In addition, he advocated that this demand should be met by many small farmers on the continent. Currently, part of this growing demand for food in Africa is being met by imports. They amount to $ 35 billion a year and are expected to reach $ 110 billion by 2025 unless Africa improves the productivity and global competitiveness of its agricultural and agro-industrial sectors.
The report recognizes that so far the private sector holds the key to the transformation of the food system.
“SMEs are making an impressive contribution to the value and creation of jobs in the value chain in the form of increased agricultural trade, agricultural services, agricultural processing, retailing urban and food services sectors. Large agrifood companies, such as start-up companies, agro-processors, and supermarkets, are also playing an increasing role in the food value chain in many regions, “said Peter Hazell of IFPRI, of the report.
The report also urges governments to promote a globally competitive food production sector through measures such as increased investment in infrastructure, secondary cities and towns, the provision of energy and water, the construction of larger areas and the promotion of open regional trade by identifying and investing in high-quality crops and introducing stricter food safety and quality standards.
The authors also call on governments to stimulate new public-private partnerships for more innovative financing and insurance systems that can lead to increased resilience for farmers and their households. While global agricultural insurance costs $ 2 billion, Africa accounts for less than 2% of this market. Other suggested fiscal stimulus measures include improving financial regulation, developing better credit reporting processes, opening up special economic zones, supporting digital storage systems and sharing risk with lenders through credit guarantees and counterpart funds.
The report highlights other new opportunities to capitalize on the contribution of digital technology, such as satellite tracking and big-data. These can help in identifying new, high-value agro-economic zones and smarter financing and food security policies, especially in the face of climate change.
“The smart nature of support is as important as its magnitude for the highly diverse group of families and agribusinesses in Africa. To intensify their contribution, companies need tailored assistance to different groups of small-scale and sustainable agribusinesses at different stages of development, in lieu of ready-to-wear support for all “Added AGRA President Dr. Kalibata.
Conclusion: While progress has been made, Africa needs to do much more if it wants to compete globally and instead of exporting, transforming itself into an importer, feeding its produced in Africa.
“It is hoped that the price of a rapidly growing and valuable food market in Africa will generate widespread political will and attract the best commercial talents to build a valuable food sector,” said Peter Hazell.
“This public-private partnership will be essential to ensure the trinity of high productivity, sustainable economic growth and food production in Africa for Africa and the rest of the world”