Africa has no excuse spending USD$35billion annually on food imports - AfDB
THE African Development Bank Group - AfDB had issued an urgent call to the African farmers [and governments] across the continent to adopt new technologies with the potential to transform agricultural production.
In a press statement emailed to the Zambian Business Times - ZBT, Akinwumi Adesina, the president of the AfDB said the technology transfer was needed immediately and that evidence from countries like Nigeria demonstrated that technology plus strong government backing was already yielding positive results.
Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation - TAAT is taking bold steps to bring down some of the barriers preventing farmers from accessing latest seed varieties and technologies to improve their productivity. Adesina told delegates at the 2018 conference attended by over 1,600 agricultural and applied economists from around the world that there is no reason why Africa should be spending over US$35billion a year importing food.
For Zambia, the country is currently battling a fish deficit which the ministry of livestock and fisheries disclosed in May 2017 that it is costing the country an estimated K3.8 billion (about USD380 million) annually in food imports.
Other foods imported into Zambia are frozen foods, fruit and vegetables mostly via South African owned food chain stores which have expansive distribution network across major towns and cities. Other food imports relate to simple products such as corn flakes, canned foods and exotic food stuffs.
Zambia in March 2017 attempted to ban the importation of certain fruits and vegetables, especially ones being grown locally to bolster its local production, a move that was well received by local farmers. However, the ban was short lived and reversed after two weeks due to legal complications on international trade treaties that the country had assented to.
Import substitution has been a well-known economic tool to use to stem the forex bleeding for a country, however, care must be taken to ensure that there is synchronization between regulatory protectionism, cost of local production as well as connectivity to the regional and global value chains that can be tapped to even take advantage of an export market.