Africa has a major potential to feed the over 5billion worlds population as it has 65% of the worlds arable land but yet hunger and poverty continue to ravage the continent.
According to the UN World prospect report 2017, Africa spends over 35 billion US dollars importing food and it is projected that the number will grow to 110 billion US dollars by 2025.
How are governments of African Countries going to reverse the figures and fortunes in favour of their people through Agriculture?
Over 60% of Africa’s labour force is believed to be in the Agricultural sector which barely is insignificant in terms of governments revenue.
The arable lands are in rural areas whiles the youth are migrating to bigger cities in search of white collar jobs or cross the desert or sea to the ‘promised land’. In the past, agriculture had always been seen in terms of managing rural poverty and not creating wealth. This had led to its stagnation (subsistence farms) as most farmers continue to rely on their hoes and cutlasses to farm.
Africa’s population is projected to rise by 1.3billion by 2050 and this requires a massive increase in food production which must be supported by ensuring minimal food losses combined with efficient supply chain management.
Governments in Africa must make deliberate efforts to create an enabling environment to make agriculture more enticing to investors and the youth. There is a school of thought that mechanisation of agriculture would replace labour. Critical is to ensure that more people have the opportunity to be prepared and trained in vocational, agricultural and technical centres to provide quality repair services to machinery be absorbed in the agricultural sector. These investments will in the long term close the technical skill gap and provide employment.
Furthermore, Africa has the benefit of technology and science to guide us through more efficient ways of transforming agriculture. From artificial intelligence to the use of drones. As technology improves and becomes widely more available, disruption in agriculture promises to accelerate. From financing, to the efficient use of resources (soil and water) and prediction of the climate in advance.
It is possible. Take an app Farmcap who is helping to crowdfund for smallholder farmers who might never be covered by governments intervention or subsidies (that is if they even exist) or can’t afford the interest on bank loans. Farmcap is now used in Ghana and Nigeria with plans to scale up across Africa.
There is an opportunity beckoning and African leaders must seize it to mechanise our agricultural system. There is a demand, a teaming unemployed youth and technologies to make it happen.