As of Monday 28 December, 2020, the population of Africa stood at 1,356,137, 670 people according to the United Nations estimates. Apart from human resource Africa has another resource which is also more precious and in abundance to and that is land which can propel the Agriculture sector to greater heights.
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal Number which states that By 2030, end hunger and ensure access by all people, in particular the poor and people in vulnerable situations, including infants, to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round. This has the following key aspects which resonate so well with the Aspirations of the African continent. The key aspects of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal Number Two are:
By 2030, double the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers, in particular women, indigenous peoples, family farmers, pastoralists and fishers, including through secure and equal access to land, other productive resources and inputs, knowledge, financial services, markets and opportunities for value addition and non-farm employment
By 2030, ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, that help maintain ecosystems, that strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other disasters and that progressively improve land and soil quality
By 2020, maintain the genetic diversity of seeds, cultivated plants and farmed and domesticated animals and their related wild species, including through soundly managed and diversified seed and plant banks at the national, regional and international levels, and promote access to and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge, as internationally agreed
Increase investment, including through enhanced international cooperation, in rural infrastructure, agricultural research and extension services, technology development and plant and livestock gene banks in order to enhance agricultural productive capacity in developing countries, in particular least developed countries. Correct and prevent trade restrictions and distortions in world agricultural markets, including through the parallel elimination of all forms of agricultural export subsidies and all export measures with equivalent effect, in accordance with the mandate of the Doha Development Round
Against this background, the African continental body realised that the catalyst that Agriculture needs to sour to greater heights on the continent is perhaps the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement.
Agriculture contributes about 15% of the total Gross Domestic Product of the African continent. This ranges from below 5% in Botswana and South Africa to more than 50% in Chad stressing diverse range of economic structures on the continent.
The population of the African continent is mainly youthful and this puts the continent in great shape for the future development. It is safe to say Africa has not fully exploited the potential that lies on the soil upon which the continent rests.
Many African countries have put serious economic plans of diversifying their economies from predominantly being mining or oil economies to Agricultural economies. The agricultural output in many African countries has been on a steady increase in recent times with Agriculture accounting for almost 50% of the Gross Domestic Product on the continent. What needs to be done is put up economic policies that are going to harness the potential and fully exploit the policies put up. A deliberate policy can be formulated of allowing duty free agricultural products between countries or within a stipulated region on the continent. This would promote more Agricultural produce the continent.
There is no better catalyst to help accelerate the policies of fully industrializing the Agricultural sector than the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement which came into effect today 1 January, 2021. The agricultural sector on the continent needs to add value to the products that are produced
Producing fruits and vegetables and many other Agricultural products has never been a problem for the African continent but adding value to the products has always been challenging. Agricultural products don’t just end at the intended produce but there is more that can be produce from one product. Take for example Groundnuts which can eating raw or made in more products.
The coming in of the Free Trade Area agreement which aims at fully industrializing the continent, one key sector that needs more investment to be fully industrialized is the Agricultural sector. The sector has the potential to help reduce the higher unemployment levels that are currently skyrocketing in many countries on the continent
The population of the African continent is only bettered by Asia and taking Asia as an example of how countries in that continent have catapulted themselves from being developing economies to economic superpowers, can only meaning that Africa has so much hope.
Once the Agricultural sector is fully developed and is able to add value to the produce, this would translate into other sectors of the economy also improving and that now will be bring the desired levels of development.
The Agricultural sector is very important because once African is able to produce more food to feed her people; this would put the continent in pole position to control her economy.
Value addition in Agricultural produce is going to help the continent develop further and this is going to be helped by the catalyst which comes into effect today the continental free trade area agreement
Agriculture sector on the continent is going to contribute to true sustainable development when value is added to the produce on the continent and the enactment of the African Continent Free Trade Area agreement. Agriculture is the sure way of the making the continent more sustainable and more food secure.