Africa’s sustainable development goals won’t be achieved if the continent does not do well in agriculture as the market growth depends on it. This was recently revealed at the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) 2018, held in Kigali under the theme, ‘Lead, measure, grow’.
Co-founder and Trustee of African Leadership Academy, Fred Swaniker said that the continent only has a short period of time to create jobs for its fast growing population. “Africa has a short time to create jobs for its fast growing population. Governments on the continent must give commitment in terms of investments and provide mentorship for youth to scale up Agriculture,” he said.
It was also noted at the forum that 70 percent of people involved in Agriculture in Africa are small holder farmers and each year there is post harvest loss of four billion. President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame advised that strong links among policy makers and investors in Africa are required for a productive African Agriculture. He added that in order to meet the sustainable goals, there should be revitalisation of Agriculture.
“We have to do a better job at mobilising citizen farmers and treating them as clients as well as make Agriculture attractive to the youth,” he said.Employment trends in Africa show similar problem as in the whole world. Thus, the continent’s labour force growth rate is three percent per annum while 60 percent of working youth equates to a per capital income of $3.10. On the other hand, Africa’s food security and a food import bill reaches $25 billion annually.
In spite of this, researchers highlight that the continent has significantly failed to increase its average yields per hectare when compared to Asian counterparts. Africa’s capacity to avoid food crisis is therefore labelled to be in hesitation. Experts foresee danger in Africa if nothing is done to increase Agricultural output.
CEO of SACAU, Ishmael Sunga also noted that African countries should put hard work on soil in order to have a better produce. “Africa has to do better in soil management and improve on soil fertility to close the huge yield gap,” he said. Africa has an average yield of 3MT per hectare while Asia has an average yield of 3.9 MT per hectare.
Africa also produces over 54 percent of the world’s cassava with an average yield of 10MT per hectare whereas Asia has an average of 22 MT per hectare. This is according to data from Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). Trade is seen as a driver of growth for African Agriculture, and it was highlighted that the food market will remain the biggest producer in the world if Africa does well.