While global population growth slows, Africa’s population is set to double over the next three decades, reaching around 2.2bn people by 2050.
This surge in numbers will have significant ramifications for the continent’s food security, which is already under pressure mainly due to climate change. The good news is that Africa’s agriculture sector has been growing at a steady pace and the continent boasts at least 65% of the world’s uncultivated arable land. If this is fully utilised, then African farmers could meet the food needs of the entire world.
As things stand, however, the continent will continue to be dependent on the rest of the world for food, with imports amounting to $35bn annually entering the African market. This includes imports of staples such as wheat ($9.3bn), rice ($5.3bn) and maize ($4.1bn). The rate is projected to rocket up to $110bn by 2025. The current system is geared towards cheap imports of commodities such as sugar, rice and palm oil which are all also produced in Africa, making it very difficult for domestic farmers and food processors to compete.
The conundrum is clear: Africa must find a way of scaling agricultural output. In response to this challenge, the African Union adopted the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) in Maputo, Mozambique in 2003. One of the key policies called for member states to increase public agricultural investment to 10% of national budgets per year and for a 6% increase in agricultural productivity per year. Read more