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News, March 2023
Time for Africa to Feed Itself, Dakar 2 Summit Takes Africa's Food Agenda Forward
March 8, 2023
Time for Africa to feed itself – Dakar 2 summit takes Africa’s food agenda forward
Thirty-four African heads of state and government along with scores of ministers and international partners came together in Dakar to mobilise investment and move forward plans to harness Africa’s immense agricultural potential.
By Tom Collins, 04-Mar-2023
There was firm agreement that Africa should set the bar much higher than simply becoming self-sufficient in food production at the Feed Africa: Food Sovereignty and Resilience summit (Dakar 2) in Senegal at the end of January.
“It is time for Africa to feed itself and fully unlock its agriculture potential to help feed the world,” stated the final declaration(link is external). The declaration also commended the planned investment of $10bn by the African Development Bank (AfDB), co-hosts of the event along with the government of Senegal, and a further $20bn by other partners in support of Africa’s agricultural development over the next five years.
The summit was attended by heads of state and government from 34 African countries, along with scores of African ministers of agriculture and many international partners.
Paradigm shift is needed
Hosting the event, which came in the wake of huge pressure on Africa’s food security(link is external) from rising inflation and the war in Ukraine, Senegal’s President Macky Sall called for a “paradigm shift” in the way African policymakers think about agriculture.
“We, as politicians, often sit in our capital cities far away from the fields,” he said. “We need to allocate more of our budget to agriculture; to modernise the sector and make it a profitable business just like commerce or industry.”
The objectives of the summit were to:
Mobilise high-level political commitment, development partner support and private sector investment around production, markets and trade to increase food production in Africa. Share successful food and agriculture experience in selected countries. Galvanise national governments, development partners and the private sector around food and agriculture delivery compacts for each country to achieve food security at scale. Develop necessary infrastructure and logistics with special agro-industrial processing zones to build markets and competitive food and agriculture value chains.
Technology is key to transformation
Many of the presidents at Dakar 2 said that technology was key to increasing farmer yields across Africa. Although 60% of the world’s uncultivated arable land is in Africa, smallholders would not need to cut down forests if they were able to increase the productivity on their existing farms.
Indeed, the World Bank found that Africa had some of the least productive agricultural workers in the world, measured by the amount of economic value each smallholder adds to overall GDP. Sub-Saharan Africa generates just $1,526 per person in farming compared to the world average of $4,035 and the US at the top with $100,062 per person.
Countries like Tanzania, for instance, fall well below the average with only $868 of wealth generated per person. Hakainde Hichilema, president of Zambia, said that technology was the most important way to boost crop yields across Africa.
“Appropriate technology, appropriate technology is very important for us on the animal husbandry and seed side,” he said. “It is extremely important for increasing yields in Africa.”
Flagship programme’s success reported
A key part of this effort has been the AfDB’s flagship Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT)(link is external) programme, which was launched in 2018 as part of the bank’s Feed Africa Strategy 2016-2025. By harnessing the power of technology, it aims to increase food output by 100m tonnes and lift 40m people out of poverty by 2025.
The programme deploys technologies at scale along nine commodity value chains: maize, rice, wheat, high-iron bean, cassava, orange-fleshed sweet potato, sorghum/millet, livestock and aquaculture. Ethiopia, which is often associated with famine, is a country where TAAT has had notable success.
The initiative helped the Ethiopian government develop heat-tolerant wheat seeds which can be planted in the country’s lowland areas, where it is difficult to cultivate crops. Ethiopia’s finance minister, Semereta Sewasew, told delegates that the programme has boosted the country’s wheat cultivated land from 5,000 hectares to 600,000 hectares in just five years. She said that Ethiopia could now become a “regional breadbasket”. The programme is being rolled out in 29 countries across the continent, giving 11m farmers access to climate-adapted agricultural technologies.
“Today we have the technologies to feed Africa,” said Akinwumi Adesina, president of the AfDB. “They are on the shelf, but we need to get them off the shelf and put them in the hands of the right people. The research and development system is able to develop technologies that will allow Africa to adapt to climate change and also be productive, efficient and competitive.”
Making the business case
Alongside technology, finance is also a key barrier to scaling up Africa’s agricultural sector. Smallholder farmers are often unable to buy key agricultural inputs and ramp up production yields due to the lack of finance available in the market.
Domestic banks often consider agriculture a risky business and rarely give out loans to smallholders without asking for collateral in return, which poor farmers cannot provide. Danladi Verheijen, co-founder and CEO of Verod Capital management, a West African private equity firm, said that stakeholders must present the sector as a business to attract private capital.
“We have to think about agriculture in terms of agribusiness,” he said. “It is the only way to attract investment. There should be no handouts, no freebies. If you look across the value chain, there are loads of opportunities.”
An important outcome of the summit was the endorsement of the Country Food and Agriculture Delivery Compacts. The final declaration stated that these are prepared and owned by African countries, and “convey the vision, challenges, and opportunities in agricultural productivity, infrastructure, processing and value addition, markets and financing that will accelerate the implementation of the African Union’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP)”.
The African Union Summit on 18-19 February called for them to be implemented with “time-bound and clearly measurable indicators for success, including concrete national policies, incentives, and regulations to establish an enabling environment for wider and accelerated investments across the agriculture sector”.
Time for Africa to feed itself – Dakar 2 summit takes Africa’s food agenda forward | African Development Bank - Building today, a better Africa tomorrow (afdb.org)
News | African Development Bank - Building today, a better Africa tomorrow (afdb.org)
Abuja market traders groan as naira scarcity persists
Since the policy took effect, the scarcity of both the old and new naira notes has affected businesses in the country.
Premium Times, Nigeria, By Ntiedo Ekott February 19, 2023
Some traders who sell food items and perishable agricultural produce in Nigeria’s capital city have lamented the losses they incurred due to the scarcity of naira notes in the country.
In a market survey conducted by the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID), the traders explained how they have recorded losses in their businesses in recent time as customers face difficulties accessing cash to buy food items.
Although some of the traders adopted the use of electronic transfers in some of the markets, many of them complained about network challenges during online transactions while others do not even have bank accounts.
The most affected category of traders, the survey showed, are those who sell perishable food items such as tomatoes, vegetables, pepper, fruits, among others.
Multiple interviews with traders in the market showed that in recent weeks, many of them have had to slash the prices of their goods in order to minimise losses due to poor patronage.
“I do not have many sales this period; many customers are not coming to the market. I have to reduce the price of my fruits so as to sell them out immediately, if not, many of them will spoil,” Usman Mohammed, a fruit seller in Kubwa market, said.
In October 2022, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, announced the introduction of new N200, N500 and N1000 notes.
Mr Emefiele said that the decision would address cases of kidnapping, terrorism and other financial crimes.
However, since the policy took effect, the scarcity of both the old and new naira notes has affected a lot of businesses in the country.
The situation further worsened the problems being faced by traders in the market, especially due to the challenges of inadequate storage facilities that lead to post-harvest losses.
Salusi Sanni, a trader at Arab market, Abuja, said he loses about N3,000 to N4,000 daily due to poor sales and damaged farm produce, ostensibly due to the cash crunch.
“During this period, my goods spoil every day because I don’t sell much and people are not buying. Like these tomatoes, before tomorrow morning, many of them will spoil. Look at the floor, those ones spoiled yesterday, I separated them this morning,” he said.
“The spoiled goods are like 2000, 3000 to 4000 daily. Only onions can last longer for us here.
“Problems are too much now, someone will come and buy tomatoes and Tatashi (pepper) with no cash to pay, the person will try to transfer and even when I collect the transfer; when I go to the market to get new goods, some wholesale people will not collect transfer from me, ” he added.
Another trader, Mary Ann, who deals in yam and plantain in the same market, explained that the situation has affected her daily sales.
“Since morning, I have not sold any tuber of yam. Normally, I do sell up to 15 to 20 tubers of yam daily, but until now (5:13 pm) nothing has been sold,” Mrs Ann said.
“If I want to explain how it affects me, I will cry. You see this car, the owner of the car brought me back from where I bought yam now, what is keeping him now is money, he said he does not collect transfers, so currently, I’m looking for cash to give him. He said if he collects cash transfers now and they will charge him N1500 for N5000, what will be his gain? So the man said he will not collect. He has been here for more than one hour, he just left now for the mosque for prayers.”
But Samsu Abu, another trader who deals in tomatoes, okra, and onions, said the situation has not really affected him because he has more than one bank account for easy cash transfers from customers.
“The situation has affected many people but I am not much affected because I normally collect cash transfers,” he said.
“I opened another bank account last week because of the situation so as to avoid network challenges in case of any in my previous bank during a transaction.”
In a national broadcast on Thursday, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the central bank to ensure the circulation of the old 200 naira notes to ease trade and business transactions.
On his part, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, argued that the policy of re-designing the naira has long-term economic and social benefits, even though the process comes with some challenges.
The Director of the Abuja School of Social and Political Thought, Sam Amadi, urged Nigerians to exercise tolerance, hoping the situation will improve immediately after the general election.
“It is difficult to mitigate these sufferings until the election is over and the underlying reason for the distortion in the implementation of the policy is removed. The best the people can do is cope and hope that after the election cash will be more available from official sources,” Mr. Amadi said.
Abuja market traders groan as naira scarcity persists (premiumtimesng.com)
Food production summit to open in Senegal
by Staff Reporter 18 Jan 2023 in Agri News
African heads of state and government together with development partners will gather in Senegal to strategically map plans to unlock Africa’s food-producing potential and position the continent to become a breadbasket to the world.
President Macky Sall of Senegal, and chairperson of the African Union, will host the three-day Dakar II Food summit from Wednesday, 25 January, with the African Development Bank Group as co-host.
The agenda of the summit, whose theme is “Feed Africa: food sovereignty and resilience”,is the improvement of Africa’s food nutrition and security; leveraging the continent’s huge agricultural resources; boosting international trade, expanding market share, and production and processing value addition.
The continent is home to a third of the world’s 850 million people living with hunger.
African Development Bank Group President Dr Akinwumi A. Adesina said: “The Dakar II Summit will mobilize political commitment, development partner and private sector investment, establish much needed policies and strategically drive actions to deliver at scale. This landmark event will be a turning point towards food sovereignty and resilience for the entire continent.”
The summit is at the heart of the bank group’s “Feed Africa” strategy, one of the institution’s “high-five” priority areas to support African countries to significantly increase agricultural growth.
It is a follow-up to the 2015 inaugural edition, during which the “Feed Africa” strategy for Agricultural Transformation (2016-2025) in Africa, was proposed.
During the summit, heads of state and government will convene sessions to develop transformational country-specific food and agriculture delivery compacts. Development partners and the private sector will also play significant roles during sessions and the overall summit. African countries are also expected to make measurable political commitments to implement policies designed to eliminate extreme poverty, hunger and malnutrition in Africa.
Dr Beth Dunford, vice president for agriculture at the African Development Bank, said: “The country compacts will provide targeted roadmaps toward self-sufficiency, and provide interventions that will make Africa’s agriculture sector more business-oriented and commercially viable.”
She added: “The Summit will be the one-stop-shop for African countries pursuing more and better investments that are public sector enabled, and private sector-led.”
The summit will take place at the Abdou Diouf International Conference Centre in Diamniadio, 26 kilometres from Senegal’s capital city Dakar.
The gathering will showcase programs already contributing to African food sovereignty and resilience. This includes the African Development Bank’s Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) platform, which is delivering heat-tolerant wheat, drought-tolerant maize, and high-yield rice seeds to 11 million African farmers in 21 countries. According to Dr Martin Fregene, director for agriculture and agro-industry at the African Development Bank, TAAT will produce 100 million metric tonnes of additional food to feed 200 million people.
He said: “We know what works in Africa. Taking agricultural technology programs like TAAT to scale does more than boost agricultural outputs. It increases wealth, creates jobs and opens our markets up to regional and international trade. It is critical to support these efforts. Africa stands to gain – the world stands to gain – from such a concerted effort.”
According to Adesina, “This is the time to invest in Africa’s future. The continent has more than 60% of the world’s remaining arable land, and millions of Africans are productive in the agriculture sector. With the removal of barriers to agricultural development aided by new investments, it is estimated that Africa’s agricultural output could increase from $280 billion per year to $1 trillion by 2030.”
The International Fund for Agricultural Development, the Islamic Development Bank, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, and several bilateral partners are among international supporters of the summit.
Click here to learn more about the Africa Food Summit.
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