The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, has estimated that the size of the food and agriculture market in Africa will rise to over $1 trillion by 2030.
He made this disclosure in his remarks at the 5th Annual meeting of the Africa Economic zones Organization (AEZO), which held recently at Morocco.
“The size of the food and agriculture market is estimated to rise to over $1 trillion by 2030. Tapping into this massive market requires a structural approach to develop better-integrated food and agriculture value chains. Today, let me highlight one important opportunity. Agriculture, food and agribusiness is the sector with the largest potential wealth impact for Africa,” he pronounced.
Dr. Adesina expressed the preparedness of his bank to continue to support the development of Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones (SAPZs), which would focus on agro-industrialization by investing massively in integrated infrastructure, in areas of high potential agricultural value chains; including processing, marketing, and logistics.
“The SAPZs will help to unlock vast economic and trade opportunities from value- added agriculture in Africa. Five SAPZs are already in implementation, including Ethiopia’s integrated agro-industrial parks, Togo’s Agro-food processing zones, and in Senegal and Guinea. Several more are planned. Regional SAPZs will also consolidate integrated infrastructure and agricultural processing and food manufacturing companies around regional transport corridors.”
Africa holds almost 50% of the world’s uncultivated land which is suited for growing food crops, comprising as many as 450 million hectares that are not forested, protected, or densely populated. Africa uses less than 2% of its renewable water sources, compared to a world average of 5%. Its harvests routinely yield far less than their potential and for mainstay food crops such as maize, the yield gap is as wide as 60 to 80%. Post-harvest losses run 15 to 20% for cereals and are higher for perishable products due to poor storage and other farm infrastructures.
Improving Africa’s agriculture and agribusiness sectors means higher incomes and more jobs. It also allows Africa to compete globally. Today, Brazil, Indonesia and Thailand, each export more food products than all of sub-Saharan Africa combined. African countries can tap into booming markets in rice, maize, soybeans, sugar, palm oil, biofuel and feedstock and emerge as major exporters of these commodities on world markets, similar to the successes scored by Latin America and Southeast Asia.
For Sub-Saharan Africa, the most dynamic sectors are likely to be rice, feed grains, poultry, dairy, vegetable oils, horticulture and processed foods to supply domestic markets.