Africa must seize new agricultural potential

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Ksi Economics Women Agribusiness Min
Women Agribusiness

Enterprises in the agribusiness sector in Africa have been urged to take advantage of the emerging opportunities in the agriculture and natural resources management space to grow and sustain their future.

The Reverend Dr. John Manu, Ashanti Regional Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), who made the call, said there were huge untapped potentials across the continent to modernising agriculture, adding that, in charting the course of food security, the new dynamics in the sector must be utilised.

He was speaking at the 2023 Women in Agribusiness Week celebration in Kumasi, organised by the Guzakuza, a private organization dedicated to empowering women in the agribusiness value chain.

Rev. Dr. Manu said some of the emerging opportunities on the African continent spanned from the potential of local baby food production, climate change adaptation, addressing transportation and storage challenges, to entrepreneurship opportunities in agriculture and agro-processing.

The Week celebration is being held on the theme “Sustaining African Agribusiness: Leveraging on digitalization, African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA) and Climate Resilience for Food Security”

Rev. Dr. Manu, throwing more light on the potential for local baby food production, said the untapped potential, according to the International Trade Centre for baby food alone was expected to exceed €1.1 billion by 2026.

“Africa is currently importing €570million of food preparations for infants per year. This has presented a significant investment opportunity in Africa’s infant food value chain, where imports were 10 times higher than exports”, he explained.

On climate change adaptation, he said there were opportunities worth up to $100 billion.

A new study by the International Finance Corporation estimates that there are up to $100 billion in total potential upfront adaptation investment opportunities, or $5 billion a year, in Africa between now and 2040.

Rev. Dr. Manu on transportation and storage challenges, argued that there was also high demand for cold storage and warehousing solutions in sub-Saharan Africa, where the United Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organisation had estimated that over 40 percent of food perished before it reached consumers.

Despite these opportunities, he noted, most agribusinesses in Africa faced a lot of challenges including small holder dominance, poor technology adoption, poor access to finance, policy and regulatory issues, low market opportunities, climate change impact and trade and integration issues.

This was why it was necessary to take advantage of the new opportunities to address the existing problems and make agriculture more sustainable on the continent.

Mr. Albert Appiah Amoakoh, Principal, Kwadaso Agricultural College, said digital transformation could have multiple benefits for food security and nutrition in developing countries.

They include increasing crop yields and incomes, enhancing resilience and adaption, improving food quality and safety, and empowering women and youth.

He referred to a study in Kenya that revealed that farmers who used mobile-based platforms to access extension services increased maize yields by 11.5 per cent and their profits by 55.6 per cent.

Additionally, a project in Senegal used satellite imagery and mobile phones to provide farmers with index-based insurance that compensated them for crop losses due to droughts.

Nana Adjoa Sifa Amponsah, Lead, Guzakuza, said the organisation was poised to bring women together to be able to push African agribusiness forward.

She requested that African leaders gave quotas to women in production and access to finance.

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