Africa: Untapped potential for agriculture

26-07-2019 | |
Photo: Rex
Photo: Rex

Africa boasts significant untapped agricultural potential. While the continent accounts for 60% of the world’s arable land, it only contributes 4% of total output.

Cognisant of this, global research and consultancy firm, Oxford Business Group (OBG), is publishing a study, Agriculture in Africa 2019, analysing the state of the sector and its medium-term development prospects. The publication is the first of its type to be published by OBG as part of a collaboration agreement with OCP Group, a major player in the global fertiliser market.

Further support to small-holder producers

“While 80% of the African population works in the agriculture sector and with the continent’s population expected to double by 2050, the main challenge for the coming years will be to provide adequate solutions to train youth and meet the future needs of the sector,” says Souhir Mzali, Regional Editor for Africa at OBG. “The publication focuses specifically on the sector’s economic potential, presenting the views of key players in the development of African agriculture as well as in-depth analyses on a variety of pertinent topics such climate change and smart-farming. Better access for farmers to knowledge of their soils and crops remains one of the main challenges to be addressed in order to adapt fertiliser usage and integrate technologies to optimise agricultural yield. Moreover, there is also a need to bring further support to small-holder producers as well as an immediate need to develop agro-industry to enhance local processing and create added value.

Double the production of seeds to feed

Agriculture in Africa 2019 features a number of interviews including Karim Lotfi Senhadji, OCP Africa CEO, in which he delivers the group’s vision, highlighting Africa’s agricultural potential and the steps needed to meet growing international demand. “We will have to double the production of seeds to feed the entire population by 2050. Given that production in most developed regions is already at optimal levels of performance, Africa is the only market able to meet this food need in the years to come. It is crucial for our continent to move from subsistence agriculture to competitive and commercial agriculture,” he explains.

In-depth analysis

The publication also highlights the views of the President of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Agnès Kalibata, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of Nigeria, Audu Ogbeh, as well as the Director of the Coffee-Cocoa Council in Ivory Coast, Yves Brahima Koné. In-depth analyses are also provided on topics related to agriculture such as farms of the future, uncultivated land, irrigation to meet self-sufficiency, climate change, deforestation and exports. Agriculture in Africa 2019 analysing the current state of the agriculture sector in Africa and its development prospects is available here.

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Emmy Koeleman Freelance editor