18.10.2013 Africa


18.10.2013 LISTEN
By Samuel Hinneh, Des Moines, USA, Courtesy: B4FA Media Fellowship Programme

Food demand in sub Saharan Africa can only be met by 25 percent as a result of increasing population by 2030, the 2013 Global Agricultural Productivity Report has revealed.

According to the report, the average annual growth in food demand in sub Saharan Africa is projected to be 2.91% from 2000 to 2030, primarily due to population increase.

If the ability to produce more agricultural products with less (Total Factor Productivity, TFP) growth continues at the 2001 to 2010 average rate of one percent, then the region will only meet 25 percent of total food demand in 2030, the report says.

To fill the expanding food gap by 2030 will require improved cultivation and livestock practices, better quality and more precise inputs, selective expansion to high-quality agricultural lands and imports.

The GAP report presented at the 2013 World Food Prize in Iowa, USA (October, 16-19, 2013) explains the critical importance of TFP and measures and analyses the most recent global agricultural rate of TFP growth, discussing how TFP improvements contribute to farmer livelihoods and conservation of the natural resource base.

Statistics from Population Division in the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs issued on June 2013 indicates that Africa's population of 1.1 billion is expected to quadruple by 2100 and reach 4.2 billion.

Dr Akinwumi Adesina, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Nigeria says sub Saharan Africa has about 60% of fertile land but yet to be cultivated thus there is the need to optimise the land for agriculture.

“Again, investment in agriculture research is needed, together with private sector collaboration to produce and process agriculture products'', he stated.

In 2003, the African Union established the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) as a roadmap for raising agricultural productivity by at least six percent per year and increasing public investment in agriculture to 10 percent of national budgets per year.

So far, eight African countries have exceeded the 10% target and most have made significant progress towards it. Ten countries have met the 6% target and another 19 have achieved productivity growth of between 3% and 6%.

Ruth Campbell, Managing Director, Technical Learning and Standards, at ACDI/VOCA, said food gap and population increase in sub Saharan Africa calls for the need to invest in new ways of producing food through increased mechanisation, adoption of high yielding crop varieties, infrastructure development, and storage facilities to propel the agriculture towards productivity.

“Again, innovative partnerships between the private and public sectors are paramount in the agricultural sector'', she added.

In Ghana ACDI/VOCA have established Grain Warehouse Receipts, where farmers access to a loan, storing crops, earning more from sales—all become a little easier for grain farmers and traders, which is a private-public sector partnership and donors working together, between Ghana Grain Council, private insurance company, smallholder farmers, together with USAID.

Campbell emphasised that trade liberalisation is also needed through the engagement of various stakeholders in trade to undertake good analysis of the regional trade environment to reach at a good regional decision approach on trade.

Dr Margaret Zeigler, Executive Director of Global Harvest Initiative, says in 2009, there was a focus on food production and not on food productivity, however abundant food production is equally as important as how it is done.

“If we try to meet the current food demand of the world by 2050 by cutting down trees and growing crops or grazing more livestock, we may be producing more foods, but in the process destroying the natural resource base'', she says.

This year's analysis indicates that global TFP is growing at an average annual rate of 1.81 percent, but regional challenges and variations in TFP growth continue. The challenges are TFP growth rates are generally lagging in low-income countries and particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, requiring ramped up research and development, technology transfer to producers and enhanced value chains.

Others include trade facilitation which is vital for connecting countries with growing demand, such as China, to countries with surplus, such as Brazil; and high-income countries need to continue their public investments in research, development and technology and focus on global solutions to food security and trade.