It’s a shame Africa begs for food with 60% of world’s arable land, says expert

African countries must increase investment in crop production in a bid to improve the continent’s agribusiness share in the global market.

Amos Rutherford, Team Lead, Research and Innovation at Legacy Seeds Ghana, said it was high time farmers in Africa knew their value in the global market and increased production from the current two billion tonnes to the possible 60 billion tonnes annually.

Rutherford said this is only attainable if farmers adopt modern and sustainable farming methods alongside enhancing value addition to their farm produce. He said this will give them a better bargaining power in the ever growing and competitive agribusiness market.

“Currently, since 2021, the global agribusiness market size is valued at $6.21 billion and is projected to grow to $154.6 billion by 2027, despite the economic challenges,” he said in his presentation at the Fifth African Conference of Science Journalists.

Rutherford said it is shameful that Africa as a continent has 60 per cent of the world’s arable land, yet it is food insecure.

The seed expert gave a snapshot of the challenges farmers in Africa face in the course of food production, including lack of quality seeds, crop nutrition inputs, drought, a land tenure system that does not allow commercial farming, pests and diseases, unstructured market systems and weak financial architecture.

According to UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) 2009 report, agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa has been underperforming since independence and the continent must now rise up and produce sustainable food and surplus for agribusiness.

Another report by the World Bank says African farmers and the leaders of their organisations are key players in mitigating these challenges affecting crop production.

“The narrative of getting relief food must end in Africa if we want to earn our dignity and respect as a continent globally,” Rutherford said.

He said sustainable crop production will ensure the continent has enough food to feed the ever growing population, create job opportunities for the teeming youth, enhance industrial revolution, and avert conflict and tribal wars.

MESHA Secretary, Aghan Daniel regretted that Africa’s full potential in agriculture remains untapped, hence the need to put in more efforts.

“It is time to stop complaining about issues and start taking action to improve on our shortcomings for a food secure continent,” said Aghan.

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