Agribusinesses, African smallholders seize $1trn food market

(EBC; September 7, 2017) - The Africa Agriculture Status Report (AASR), launched on Tuesday at this year's African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, has identified Agriculture as Africa's quiet revolution, with a focus on SMEs and smallholder farmers creating the high productivity jobs and sustainable economic growth that failed to materialize from mineral deposits and increased urbanization.

The report says that the power of entrepreneurs and the free market is driving Africa's economic growth from food production, as business wakes up to opportunities of a rapidly growing food market in Africa that may be worth more than $1 trillion each year by 2030 to substitute imports with high value food made in Africa.

Adding that despite 37 percent of the population now living in urban centers, 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. Smart investments in the food system can change this picture dramatically if planned correctly.

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.

"This report shows us that agriculture involving an inclusive transformation that goes beyond the farm to agri-businesses will be Africa's surest and fastest path to that new level of prosperity."

Kalibata said to succeed, Africa's agricultural revolution needs to be very different to those seen in the rest of world as it requires an inclusive approach that links millions of small farms to agribusinesses, creating extended food supply chains and employment opportunities for millions including those that will transition from farming.

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.

Source: vanguardngr.com