Businesses are waking up to the opportunities presented by a rapidly-growing food market in Africa, that may be worth more than US$1tn each year by 2030 as imports are substituted with high-value locally-produced food. This is the main conclusion from the latest Africa Agriculture Status Report.
According to the report, agriculture will be Africa’s quiet revolution, with a focus on SMEs and smallholder farmers creating the high-productivity 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. 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 agribusinesses will be Africa’s surest and fastest path to that new level of prosperity.”
To succeed, Africa’s agricultural revolution needs to be very different to those seen in the rest of world. 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.
Read more: How We Made It In Africa