The vulnerability of Africa’s economy due to the various shocks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine War and insecurity can only be mitigated by the evolution of an efficient ‘African food system’.
All countries in Africa must commit to sizeable investments in agriculture to bolster their food systems to avert further stresses and challenges of food and physical insecurity threatening the continent.
The SHFs are the engine room of production in agriculture in Africa, but with the low level of mechanization currently, they must, therefore, be directly subsidised to attain a reasonable level of food sufficiency in the continent.
The AfCFTA initiative is germane to Africa’s prosperity if the right kind of strategy is judiciously deployed in its implementation.
All countries in the continent should create the requisite synergy among themselves by optimising productivity, processing, storage, distribution and consumption of food to evolve a veritable food system.
It is our ethos to be our brothers’ and sisters’ keeper in Africa so it must be taken to its full potential by creating a United States of Africa by revamping the AU, such that leadership in all African countries become more transparent and focused.
There are several innovations in agriculture aside from mechanisation and value addition, such as climate-smart agriculture, the sustainable deployment of agricultural biotechnology as well as year-round agricultural production to make Africa the ‘Food Continent’ of the globe, especially leveraging its large arable land and nearly 60 per cent youth population.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taught the entire world the need to be self-sufficient in food, medicine and almost every facet of life; so, shocks like the Russia-Ukraine War should serve as a wake-up call to Africa if she wants to become sustainably competitive and prosperous.
In Nigeria, we have put in place several initiatives such as the CBN Anchor Borrower Initiative, the Agriculture Promotion Policy, Presidential Fertilizer Initiative, Integrated Farm Initiatives by National Agricultural Land Development Agency (NALDA), National Livestock Transformation Plans (NLTP), farmer data capture, social safety nets, National Food Reserve Agency, seed, fertilizer and soil acts to give impetus to a veritable food system but the implementation has not been satisfactory and needs to be sustained beyond the life of this administration to be impactful in the agricultural transformation of Nigeria and Africa’s economies.
Ibrahim is the national president of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN). He can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org.