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African farmers to control a $1 trillion Food Market - Report

By Prossy Nandudu

Added 7th September 2017 02:31 PM

The report highlights the opportunity for Africa to feed the continent with food made in Africa

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The power of entrepreneurs and the free market is driving Africa’s economic growth as businesses wake up to opportunities of a rapidly growing food market in Africa.
 
The market that may be worth more than $1 trillion each year by 2030, will substitute imports with high value food items from Africa. 
 
This is one of the conclusions from the latest Africa Agriculture Status Report (AASR), launched on Tuesday at this year’s African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Cote d’Ivoire.
 
According to the report, agriculture will be Africa’s revolution, with a focus on SMEs and smallholder farmers, creating jobs and sustainable economic growth that failed to materialise from mineral deposits and increased urbanisation. 
 
Despite 37% of the population now living in urban centres, most jobs have been created in lower paid, less productive services rather than in industry, with this service sector accounting for more than half of the continent’s GDP, adds the report.
 
Commenting on this year’s report findings, Dr. Agnes Kalibata, President of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (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,” she said.
 
How can Africa’s agriculture succeed?
To succeed, Africa’s agricultural sector requires an inclusive approach that links millions of small farms to agribusinesses, hence creating extended food supply chains and employment opportunities for millions.
 
“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,” explained Kalibata.
 
The report highlights 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.
 
It also advocates 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 $35b per year and are expected to cost $110b by 2025, unless Africa improves the productivity and global competiveness of its agribusiness and agriculture sectors. 
 
The report calls on farmers to embrace other opportunities in the digital world such as satellite tracking and big data to help locate new high value agri-economic zones and smarter financing and food security polices to cope with effects of climate change.

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