Africa needs to reduce its reliance on food imports

Oluwabunmi Ajilore

Agriculture experts are gathered in Kigali, Rwanda to discuss ways how Africa can transform its agriculture into a technology-based sector.

Dr Akinwumi Adesina, the President of the African Development Bank has announced his institution will invest $24 billion USD in agriculture on the continent in the next 10 years.

“The continent holds a significant part of the world’s arable land that cannot only produce food for itself but the bigger part of the world”, Dr Adesina said.

However, Africa spends more than $35 billion every year on imported food stuffs. This trade deficit is a big problem that needs fixing fast. “It’s high time that Africa feeds Africa,” Dr Adesina told participants in Kigali, Rwanda, during the FARA 7th Africa Agriculture Science Week (AASW7).

At the launch of the event, Rwanda’s Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi said the country is center stage in innovating agriculture technology. He said Rwanda has been leading collaboration with other African countries in pushing the sector to the next level. “This sector is a crucial cornerstone for Africa’s transformation.  Rwanda is among first African countries to sign the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).” The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) is Africa’s policy framework for agricultural transformation, wealth creation, food security and nutrition, economic growth and prosperity for all.

Michael Ryan, head of EU mission in Rwanda said the organization has set aside $9 billion to lift seven million children out of malnutrition on the continent by 2025, responding to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Rwanda has drastically reduced the number of malnourished people,

State Minister for Agriculture, Tony Nsanganira said the country’s agro-processing industry is expected to grow by 14%. The sector needs to attract more young people and women and there is a need for more incentives. There are more than 832 proximity business advisory services working to help boost production and the agro-processing sector, with a target of reducing poverty by over 8.5% in the next 10 years.

Rwanda’s agriculture sector makes up 35 % of the country’s economy. Rwanda’s food exports accounts for more than 70% of the country’s export revenues, but yet, still too much food is imported.

Agriculture experts believe that science should be the backbone of Africa’s agriculture transformation, and making African countries self-reliant.

Blogpost and picture by Augustin Niringiyimana, augustinius01(at)gmail.com, #AASW7 social reporter.
This post represents the author’s views only.

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CTA is a joint international institution of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and the European Union (EU). CTA operates under the framework of the Cotonou Agreement and is funded by the EU.