Article written

  • on 29.01.2015
  • at 04:15 PM
  • by evelina

Africa: A Global Compact on Agriculture 0

On the 10th Anniversary of the adoption of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), African Union declared the year 2014 to be the Year of Agriculture and Food Security in Africa.

There is much to celebrate; agricultural production in Africa has increased steadily over the last 30 years: its value has almost tripled showing an increase that clearly exceeds the growth rate for global agricultural production over the same period, almost identical to that of South America and below but comparable to growth in Asia based on NEPAD statistics.

Beyond the political will such a decision translates, it stems from a large consensus among African policy makers, scientists, private sector, civil society and development partners that Africa can in fact with an agriculture transformation agenda unleash its enormous potential to end hunger, create jobs and eradicate poverty. Over 530 million Africans depend fully or partially on agriculture for their livelihood.

Indeed, Africa’s agricultural opportunities are just tremendous. Not only Africa has the potential to feed itself but also to become a major food supplier for the rest of the world.

Three figures clearly show the immensity of this potential and how important is the room for improvement.

Firstly, it is estimated that Africa has around 600 million of uncultivated arable land roughly 60 percent of the global total.

Secondly, agricultural statistics estimate that 80percent of the cultivated land in Africa depends is rain-fed and not irrigated.

Thirdly, according to recent data the productivity of agriculture in Africa is as low as one third of productivity in other parts of the world.

Therefore, by developing uncultivated arable areas, relying more on irrigation, and substantially enhancing agricultural productivity in a sustainable way, Africa can make a big leap in fighting hunger, unemployment and poverty. The private sector has an important role to play. The World Bank estimates that Africa’s market for food could be valued at more than $1,000 billion by 2030, compared to $313 billion today.

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By Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, President of Mauritania and AU Chair

Photo Credit: Pablo Tosco – Oxfam

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