A Looming Doom Of $110 billion On Importation Of Food If Agriculture Keeps Being Neglected
President of the African Development Bank, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina
The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, has predicted that Africa may be spending $110 billion by 2025 on importing food if agriculture is not properly invested.
Dr. Adesina holds that agriculture is a business, wealth creating sector and not just a way of life. Hence, it should be treated as such and gain the needed attention so as not to fall captive of the doom awaiting.
He explained, “first and foremost is to recognize that agriculture is not a way of life, agriculture is a business, wealth creating sector. If you look at Africa today, Africa spends $35billion a year importing food that it should be producing and if we do nothing about that, by 2025 Africa would be spending another $110 billion importing food.”
He suggested two ways of changing the agricultural sector in Africa.
“So, the things that have to change is how we take agriculture. We must take agriculture as a business that can create wealth and revive our rural communities. The second thing that has to change is that for all the things that Africa produces… whether it’s rice, cassava, coffee, cocoa, tea, whatever it is or cotton, Africa has to add value to everything,” he said.
According to him, “it makes no sense today that Africa accounts for 75 per cent of the global production of cocoa but Africa gets only two per cent of a one-billion-dollar market for chocolate.”
He further lamented about the unfair dealings Africa get with the global market.
“So, the price of cocoa will fall, which has just fallen. Again, Cote D’Ivoire is losing a billion-dollar as a result of that because the price of chocolate never goes down. The price of cotton will fall but the price of textiles or apparels will never go down. And so, the price also of coffee beans will fall but never the price of brewed coffee that people are making money smiling all the way to the bank.”
For these reasons and the zeal to change Africa’s agriculture sector, Dr. Adesina revealed that the AfDB will be investing $24billion over the next ten years.
“That’s why within the African Development Bank we’ve taken these very seriously that we’re going to invest $24billion of our own money into agriculture over the next ten years so that Africa can be totally full sufficient and secondly, Africa can participate in global value chain.”
“For the things it produces, it should add value, it should make a lot of money. Agriculture is not a way of life, it’s a wealth sector and must be treated exactly like that,” he stated.
He emphasized that,
“we’ve got to make sure that we make agriculture value chains that allows Africa to add value to everything it produces.”