*Predicts $1trn size of sector by 2030
By Ebikiseiye Thompson, Abuja
The African Agriculture Technology, AATF, said Africa’s agricultural sector is a ready solution to its economic challenges if properly harnessed.
This was contained in a report by the Foundation, where it stated that the sector makes up to 25 per cent of the continent’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP, and more than half its jobs.
The report also noted that despite the strategic position agriculture occupies in the continent there are still suffers due to bedevilling factors that are yet to be addressed.
The report reads in part, “Agriculture remains the single greatest contributor to Gross Domestic Product, GDP, and employment across Africa. The sector makes up an estimated 25 per cent of the continent’s GDP, and more than half of its jobs.
“Around 80 per cent of farms in Sub-Saharan Africa are smallholdings, employing around 175 million people and women make up between 60-80 per cent of the workforce. The potential for growth is enormous. The World Bank estimates that the sector could more than triple in size to $1trillion.
“Despite the significance of agriculture doe African economies and societies, the sector has suffered from perennial underperformance in productivity. Farmers, particularly smallholders, have far less access to high-technology inputs than their peers in Asia or American.
“This represents an enormous opportunity, as even relatively small improvements in productivity represent a significant uplift to the lives of farmers. According to the World Bank, growth in the agriculture sector is two to three times more effective at reducing poverty than an equivalent amount of growth in any other sector.
“However, African agriculture also faces new and emergent challenges, in particular climate change, which threatens the ability of the continent of achieving food security, eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development, less predictable weather patterns, the increased incidence of drought and floods, and the emergence of a new pest, such as fall armyworm, are already creating problems for African farmers.”
“This calls for the urgent adoption of advanced agricultural techniques, including conventional biotechnological approaches for the genetic improvement of crops and inputs so that the gins African countries have made in agricultural growth can be sustained.”
AATF believes that agricultural technology will play a central role in Africa’s ongoing development. Agriculture can be a catalyst for the transformation of the economies of Sub-Saharan Africa, but it must be made resilient to current and emerging challenges.
The organization works with farmers, scientists, policymakers, and other stakeholders to create mechanisms through which technologies can be transferred to and utilized by smallholder farmers.