Agriculture in Africa – A Trillion Dollar Market?

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A new report by the World Bank highlights the potential of agribusiness and agriculture in Africa, saying that Africa has the potential to develop a trillion dollar food market by 2030.

Right now, this market is significantly underperforming, bringing in $313 billion a year, and has the potential to triple in size. In fact, other developing countries, such as Brazil, Thailand or Malaysia, each export more food than all of sub-Saharan Africa combined.

This is despite the fact that Africa has more than half of the world’s fertile but unused land. Furthermore, it uses only 2% of its renewable water resources, whereas the global average use of these is 5%. This indicates that there are many currently untapped resources in Africa that could be used to enhance its agricultural productivity and output. In addition, poor storage and other infrastructure causes post-harvest losses of 15-20% for cereals and even higher rates for perishable products.

However, drawing from local success stories, the report argues that Africa can reverse these trends and achieve its agricultural potential. Specifically, the report calls for better access to capital and electricity as well as enhanced technologies and irrigation systems. In addition, it urges governments to work side-by-side with agribusiness to link farmers with urban consumers.

These goals can be achieved through sound policies, investments and public-private partnerships that foster open and transparent processes and procedures throughout agricultural value chains. In addition, it is critical to strengthen safeguards and land administration systems and ensure that investments are aligned with sustainable growth strategies.

Boosting agribusiness and agriculture in Africa would create jobs and provide affordable and nutritious food, in addition to representing an opportunity to earn profits through the export of surplus products. This would greatly reduce poverty by increasing employment rates, decreasing hunger and allowing African farmers to compete in global markets.

– Caroline Poterio Martinez

Source: World Bank
Photo: Development Diaries

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