Exploiting Africa’s $1 trillion Food Market

The Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) on its website notes that the value of Africa’s food market is projected to increase from US$ 313 billion in 2010 to US$ 1 trillion in 2030.

If African governments decide to ignore this data, foreigners would raid the market and enrich their countries at the expense of African nationals.

While other countries in other continents and even within Africa are doing agriculture with modern technologies, we in Ghana are not doing do same but polluting the minds of farmers against improved technology.

Agribusiness Chamber pushes for transformation
The President of the Chamber of Agribusiness Ghana, Mr Anthony Morrison in a presentation made at the Africa Agri Investment Indaba organised by the African Agri Council in November 2020 propounded that to transform its rural economies Africa must embark on agricultural industrialization and add value to all its agricultural commodities. 

He further said, “we must improve our food systems such as inputs, infrastructure, and Markets. 

He said there has been slow progress in agribusiness, due to the lack of modern inputs, irrigation, and machinery among others. In addition, there is an inadequate and uncoordinated investment in agribusiness and agriculture by both public and private sectors.

Agribusinesses are being challenged to meet the globally increasing demand for food, fuel, and fiber, while balancing economic and environmental realities, he noted. 

 Adding, “Agribusiness is evolving from a local and regional model to a global structure, making this sector of increasing interest to corporations, public agencies, and society at large.

Mr Morrison said new technologies are helping agribusiness increase efficiency and cut costs but government regulation, historical practices, and poor training can slow technology adoption.

In an interview with the Business Finder, Mr Morrison said Africa needs a stronger approach towards solving its agriculture and food system.  

African governments must adopt new policies that enhance agriculture mechanisation. 

AGRA West Africa Regional Head’s position 
In a related interview with the AGRA Regional Head for West Africa, Mr Foster Boateng, he indicated that the food system comprises of all activities ongoing with the value chain from input to production to consumption, and to waste management.

 He said the food system in Africa and for that matter, Ghana has become dysfunctional and needs urgent actions (not constant talks) to make it vibrant.     

To Mr Boateng, the food system is an embodiment that has many actors who must be committed to adopting change that would enhance the continent’s ability to feed its people without succumbing to importation. 

He noted that the first approach for Ghana to solve the dysfunctional food system was for farmers to increase production from a subsistence level to a commercial level.

 It is after increased production that the private would be enticed to set up industries to process the surplus generated after feeding the economy.

He believes that farmers could not produce in commercial quantities if they continue to use the old methods and technologies in their approach to farming. 

When we take rice production, for instance, Mr Boateng said a country like Vietnam is currently doing 10metric tonnes per hectare but Ghana is doing 2.5-3.0 metric tonnes per hectare.

Additionally, he noted that there was the need to invest in research if we want to take agriculture seriously as a nation because, without it, it will be difficult to know and understand the analytics needed to adjust to the changing dynamics in the agriculture space.

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