Africa’s food market to hit $1trn by 2030
Continent must add value to its exports and start seeing farming from a business point of view
Agriculture is expected to replace minerals as the driver of Africa’s economic growth, as businesses wake up to opportunities of a rapidly growing food market in Africa.
The latest Africa Agriculture Status Report (AASR) launched at this year’s African Green Revolution Forum in Abidjan, Cote d’ivore, shows that agriculture will be Africa’s quiet revolution, with SMES and smallholder farmers creating the high productivity jobs and sustainable economic growth which failed to materialise from minerals and increased urbanisation.
According to the report, Africa’s food market is rapidly growing, with opportunities in the sector estimated to be worth more than $1 trillion every year by 2030, to substitute food imports with high value food made in Africa.
“Africa has the latent food resources, skills and land capacity to tip the balance of payments and move from importer to exporter by eating food made in Africa,” said Dr Agnes Kalibata, President of Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa.
“This report shows us that agriculture involving an inclusive transformation that goes beyond the farm to agribusiness will be Africa’s surest and fastest path to that new level of prosperity,” Dr Kalibata said.
She added that in order to succeed, Africa’s agricultural focus has to be different from those seen in the rest of the world.
It should be an inclusive approach that links millions of farms to agribusiness, creates extended food supply chains and employment opportunities for millions, including those who will transition from farming.
This, the report says, will be in contrast to the model in other parts of the world where farming is shifting to largescale commercial concerns and food processing, which employs relatively fewer people and requires a lot of capital.
The annual study noted that despite having 37 per cent of its population living in urban centres, Africa has seen most jobs created in the lower paying, less productive services sector rather than heavy industry.
The report also highlights the opportunity for Africa to feed itself by meeting the demands of affluent, fast growing urban populations on the continent looking for high val- ue processed and pre-cooked food.
According to the African Development Bank, Africa’s food imports stand at $35 billion with the figure expected to rise to $110 billion by 2025, unless the continent improves the productivity and global competitiveness of its agribusiness and agriculture sectors.
“Impressive value addition and employment is being created by SMES along value chains in the form of increased agricultural trade, farm servicing, agro processing, urban retailing and food services,” said Peter Hazell, Director, International Food Research Policy Institute.
Satellite tracking, big data and other digital technologies were fronted as among the new opportunities for the agricultural sector to help locate new-high value agri-economic zones, smarter financing and food security policies.
“Smart support is just as important as the scale of support for Africa’s highly diverse farmers and agribusinesses. These businesses need assistance tailored to groups of viable small farms at different developmental stages, rather than support for all,” Dr Kalibata said.
The status report urges governments to stimulate privatepublic partnerships to provide more innovative financing and insurance products for smallholder farmers and their households.
Currently, Africa accounts for less than two per cent of the $2 billion global agricultural insurance business.