SABC News - Africa needs large investment to achieve food security: AASR:Tuesday 6 September 2016

Africa needs large investment to achieve food security: AASR

Tuesday 6 September 2016 15:43

Sarah Kimani

The report states that farming is a key source of income for between 60 to 65% of labour in Sub-Saharan Africa.(REUTERS)

The Sub-Saharan African region needs between $315 billion US and $400 billion in investments over the next ten years to achieve food security, according to the African Agriculture Status Report (AASR) released on Tuesday by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).  

The report builds a case for governments to increase investment in agriculture, pointing out that in the last ten years, countries that put more money into their farmers saw food production, GDP and nutrition improve. The report was released in Nairobi ahead of the African Green Revolution forum, which takes stock of where the continent stands in its bid to feed itself.

The report puts the continent’s economic success in the hands of its farmers. It indicates that countries that implemented the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), which calls on governments to have a national agriculture investment plan and to allocate at least 10% of their budgets to farming, are among those that are reaping benefits.  Thirteen African countries have hit or surpassed this target.

“Rwanda is the pioneer in that we can point West Africa where Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) put six million US dollars on the table and challenged its 15 member states within a year to go through the entire process,” says the AASR’s lead author, David Ameyaw.  

It however points out that African governments must use agriculture to industrialise if the region is to reduce its food import bill, which currently stands at $US 30 – US$ 40 Billion a year.

The report states that farming is a key source of income for between 60 to 65% of labour in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Chairperson of Africa Fertiliser and Agribusiness Partnership, Dr Namanga Ngongi says, “In many parts of the world, industrialisation has been based on agriculture; providing raw materials and the transformation of agricultural products. Africa is yet to make a major dent in that area.”

“Sub-Saharan Africa is increasingly unable to feed itself, and what this means is that many jobs that would be generated by farmers, agro-processors and people in the food system are being lost to jobs internationally,” adds AASR co-author, Thomas Jayne.

The report further notes that Africa currently has a $300 billion food market projected to have grown to one trillion US dollars by 2030.

For the continent to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of eradicating hunger by 2030, it recommends increased investments in agriculture, infrastructure including markets and training of experts in the sector.

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