Agriculture in Africa: Our Ace in the Hole?
Did you know that 32% of Africa’s GDP comes from the Agriculture sector? Also, 65% of the labour force across Africa is employed in the Agriculture sector; this is according to the World Bank. (Source: Bizcommunity). Why then is our continent, an Agriculture-rich gold mine of sorts, being vastly underutilised?
Well, guess what, Africa’s underutilised Agriculture sector may be a thing of the past…
In fact, based on monitoring sectors and watching the inter-African trade trends, our Group MD, Bradley Barr, has noticed a big uptake in Agribusiness across Africa. He has made a calculated prediction about Agriculture in Africa and believes that over the next 2 decades, agriculture, specifically food agriculture, will become the next critical commodity.
“I have seen first-hand that Agricultural Science has enormous potential to increase the yields of small farmers and lift them out of hunger and poverty” ~ Bill Gates
Quality of African Soil
African soil remains greatly underutilised and a substantial amount of the continent’s food is still imported (Read more: Explaining Africa agricultural and food trade deficits). African countries imported about US$94bn worth of agricultural products during 2013, compared to exports amounting to about US$60bn. (Source: Bizcommunity).
In addition to Africa being home to millions of hectares of unexploited arable land, it has been estimated that about 60% of the world’s available yet unexploited cropland lies in Sub-Saharan Africa. Not only is that but only between 5% – 7% of the continent’s cultivated land irrigated, which leaves farmers exposed to the elements.
Given the nature of African agriculture, where a large proportion of farmers are smallholders or subsistence-based, it is essential to invest in these farmers and provide them with access to the necessary tools financially, educationally and practically, to sustain and develop the agri sector.
Agriculture in Africa is important for livelihood
The global population is increasing and with that, food production needs to increase! It’s simple supply and demand. Africa is not reaching its potential but the markets are changing to reflect that it will soon change. The importance of agriculture is emphasised in the fact that it is a key poverty-alleviating sector. Key stakeholders in Africa to improve their cumulative efforts to boost the agricultural sector over the next few years.
Agriculture jobs in Africa
Do you want to work in the Agriculture sector? CA Global works with quite a few Agriculture companies in Africa who are contributing to improving our Africa Agricultural sector.
What needs to be done to boost Agriculture in Africa?
Small-scale, subsistence farmers form the bulk of agricultural activities across countries in Africa. It is reported that the key factor in gaining a higher agriculture growth trajectory across Africa, is rooted in local government policy.
Governments across Africa need to work together on a macro level to implement and manage the following locally:
Provision of cooperative structures
Knowledge sharing initiatives
It should be a shared responsibility of Africans across all levels; government, corporations, farmers and locals. We need to focus on spreading skills and knowledge, increasing fertiliser use, increasing the availability of financing, implementing technologies to improve yields – including research into improved seed varieties – and improving infrastructure. If reforms are implemented efficiently, these focus areas will combine to lead to significant increases in yields in order for Africa to feed itself and ultimately lift a large proportion of the population out of extreme poverty.
What do you think about our Group MD’s bold statement? We know the importance of the agriculture sector and we know that Africa has untapped resources to reach its potential. The chatter in the Agri market looks to be moving towards improved resource and tools for all key stakeholders in the Agri sector… or do you disagree?
Please add your comments below or catch me on Twitter: @AfricaPRFowzi
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