Indeed, the continuous lack of food production self-sufficiency and the increasing food import dependency in many African countries to supplement domestic production shortfalls amidst big agriculture resources potential, is worrisome.
Africa as a continent has all it takes to be self-sufficient in crops, aquaculture, mariculture, livestock and poultry production. The continent’s world’s food basket status potential is therefore not in the least dispute.
With over 60 percent of global total arable land potential, more than enough marine, fresh and ground water resources, Africa has no excuse to feel threatened with food insecurity as a result of geopolitical tensions in other parts of the world.
The importance and relevance of the recently ended Feed Africa Summit held by the Senegalese government in collaboration with the African Development Bank(AfDB), can therefore be best appreciated against this background.
In this light, we at the Ecoenvironews Africa magazine do take special note of the AfDB’s pragmatic action of committing USD10 billion to agriculture and rolling out transformative initiatives, including a $1.5 billion emergency food production facility in 2022 to help African countries avert a potential food crisis following Russia’s war in Ukraine.
The bank’s President Adesina call on more than 34 heads of states,70 government ministers, the private sector, farmers, development partners, and corporate executives to work out compacts that would deliver food and agriculture transformation at scale across Africa was on point.
For us at the Eco-environews, Africa, we wish to add that, the collective action must be driven by purposely crafted Strategic Action Plans spelling out realistically achievable set goals and targets with time lines and religiously work to achieve them so as to unlock the continent’s potential to become a global food breadbasket.
We also believe that Africans generally need mindset and attitudinal change in how we deal with this most important issue of agriculture. We ought to re-define and appreciate agriculture as a science and business and not simply as a mere source of livelihood.
The minds of African youth in some countries, ought to be cleared of the mental and psychological effect of agriculture being presented as an option for school drop-outs.
Africa must take maximum of her most youthful continent in the world status to unleash a dawn of African agripreneurs. Such youthful entrepreneurs who are in gainful self-employment, would also, as employers, be contributing their quota towards addressing the ballooning youth unemployment scourge.
Predominantly rain-fed and Small-farmer holder driven agriculture production and productivity in many African countries also ought to change for the better.
Small holder farming activities must go alongside irrigation-fed modern commercial farming production if Africa is to achieve local food self-sufficiency and to produce more for the international market. The decades long major challenge of lack of easy access to capital at affordable cost, as well as, high yield quality seeds, high cost of basic inputs including agro-chemicals too need special attention.
President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria’s call on African countries to offer more robust support for farmers, dedicate a chunk of the national budget to agriculture, and motivate youth and women to farm was spot on.
We believe that for the special agro-industrial processing zones being rolled out by the AfDB to be sustainable, beefing up the production value chains in primary agriculture sector would require stepping up irrigation-fed and modernized commercial scale agricultural production and productivity