Four things you should know about agriculture and food in Africa
The World Bank estimates that Africa holds 60% of the world’s uncultivated arable land. Coupled with a youthful workforce and water resources, the potential for agribusiness in Africa cannot be ignored.
How we made it in Africa looks at some of the key points raised at the event.
1. An investment of US$55bn needed in agriculture
“….70% of Africa’s population relies on agriculture for their income, and that a considerable portion lives in poverty, with little or no support to help increase productivity. In order to feed Africa and the world, significant investment will be required to meet Africa’s agricultural potential.”
2. Informal markets dominate
“Some 90% of all food in Africa (excluding South Africa) is purchased through informal markets, according to David Tschirley, professor at Michigan State University’s Department of Agriculture, Food and Resource Economics” ….“So we need transformation not just in the modern sector, but also in this traditional sector… there needs to be a whole food system supply chain transformation.”
3. Technology can leapfrog infrastructure deficit
“Lack of access to finance and market related information is a major limitation that small-scale farmers face in rural Africa. However, mobile penetration and innovations in mobile money technology can help reduce these challenges” Thad Simons, IFAMA’s board president and senior executive advisor for Novus International, said mobile phones can assist the agricultural supply chain.
4. Majority of arable land situated in only a few countries
According to Milu Muyanga, assistant professor at Michigan State University’s Department of Agriculture, Food and Resource Economics, most of sub-Saharan Africa’s arable land lies in just a handful of countries. “Most of these countries are fragile states… we are talking about DRC, Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Mozambique, and Zambia.”