Africa blows $35bn on food imports: AfDB
AFRICA is spending $35 billion annually on food imports due to the absence of vibrant food processing firms, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has said.
The regional bank has since called on the continent to develop policies that support the establishment of food processing and manufacturing firms.
AfDB president Mr Akinwumi Adesina has underlined the importance of policies to support the establishment of private sector-driven food processing and manufacturing companies in rural areas to deal with the immense food waste.
“The AfDB president has addressed the challenge of post-harvest losses in Africa, while outlining the importance of policy regulations to end the losses in a continent that spends $35 billion on food imports each year,” said AfDB in a statement.
Mr Akinwumi was quoted as saying while Africa depends on food imports, massive food quantities were going into waste in most rural communities in Africa.
“Massive quantities of food crops, fresh fruits and vegetables and dairy products go to waste in rural areas, while Africa depends on food imports,” he said this at a recent African Green Revolution Forum in Nairobi, Kenya.
During the forum, African leaders, businesses, and major development partners have pledged over $30 billion in investment to increase production, income and employment for smallholder farmers and local African agriculture businesses in the next 10 years.
The collective pledges represent the biggest package of financial commitments to the African agricultural sector.
It is believed that AfDB support will accelerate access to commercial financing reinforced by proven approaches to reducing risks of commercial lending to smallholder farmers and other agriculture business.
Last month, AfDB highlighted that creating markets, developing infrastructure and providing financing for farmers are key ingredients for transforming agriculture in Africa.
It has been noted that governments can achieve the above by developing agro-allied industrial zones and staple crop processing zones in rural areas.
Such zones, supported with consolidated infrastructure, including roads, water, electricity, have the potential to drive down the cost of doing business for private food and agribusiness firms.
Mr Akinwumi Adesina