Panellists at a discussion board on agriculture at the fourth European Union-Africa Business Summit, held in Marakech, Morocco, emphasised the immense potential that Africa has in agriculture.
Africa is alleged to maintain many of the 600 million hectares of arable land left on the earth, together with 65 p.c of the untapped arable. This, they stated, makes Africa crucial to the way forward for meals manufacturing on the earth. With 60 p.c of Africa’s inhabitants reliant on agriculture for revenue and livelihood, the continent’s personal future can be intricately certain to the success of agriculture.
On the panel had been Phil Hogan, former European Union commissioner for agriculture, Ilyas El Fali, at present advisor to the chairman of OCP Group, one of many largest producers of fertilizer on the earth and Professor Daniel Nahon of the Aix-Marseille University. Also included had been Samira Rafaela, member of the European Parliament, Godfred Bahiigwa, director of the agriculture division of the African Union and Willi Schulz Greve, head of unit at the European Commission Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development.
The theme for the dialogue was “Agriculture and Agribusiness: A stronger agriculture for a fairer rural development”.
Cooperation between EU and Africa is crucial
Samira Rafaela identified that agriculture is crucial to the way forward for cooperation between the EU and Africa and known as for nearer engagement to construct sustainable meals methods on each continents that deal with the challenges of vitamin and meals safety. She stated the EU’s farm to fork technique, consistent with its inexperienced aspirations, was essential however careworn that it was equally essential that in implementing its requirements, it doesn’t have the unintended consequence of excluding African farm merchandise.
She known as for a cooperative strategy, the place the EU contributes to the event of farming in Africa, whereas nonetheless respecting native strategies which were honed by technology and proven to work. “We must ask how we can incorporate some of these methods that work into the mix of agricultural production and international trade,” she stated.
EU has an curiosity in mobilising funding for Africa
Phil Hogan famous that a number of the inputs for manufacturing within the EU come from African agriculture, which makes it crucial to the financial bloc. The EU is the biggest buying and selling accomplice for Africa by way of agriculture and it was within the EU’s pursuits to assist mobilise funding to enhance agriculture and agro-processing in Africa, which might assist create jobs.
He stated the non-public sector was important to the duty of mobilising partnerships for, amongst others, offering the bodily and digital infrastructure that may enhance African farming.
“We always relied on government to government engagement to make the actions. This is insufficient. We also need business to business, people to people engagements and that is what we are trying to foster,” he disclosed.
He additionally cautioned that it was not the EU’s place to impose insurance policies or inform African governments what to do. Policies and initiatives should originate from African governments whereas the EU helps with technical and monetary sources.
AfCFTA will make meals extra obtainable
Godfred Bahiigwa noticed that one of many key points confronted by African farmer was the excessive charge of post-harvest losses, which is estimated to be between 15 to 30 p.c of annual produce. He was excited by the prospects of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement, which might break down commerce obstacles between African states.
He stated the projected enhance to intra-African commerce would make meals extra obtainable, cut back prices whereas enhancing incomes for native farmers. He stated it was essential to give attention to not simply the provision of meals, but in addition on the standard of vitamin and meals security. He stated efforts to fortify staple and conventional meals crops on the continent will assist obtain this finish.
The AU, he stated, is taking actions throughout the whole meals manufacturing spectrum, from manufacturing to submit harvest administration, commerce and boosting consumption of protected, nutritious meals.
Agriculture can create jobs
Willie Schulz Greve stated agriculture has the potential to create jobs and known as for extra funding in African agriculture with a view to producing extra protected and nutritious meals. This would assist Africa meet the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and the AU’s personal ambitions for its Agenda 2063.
He stated the best political and financial methods are mandatory to appeal to the kind of funding that African agriculture wants. The continent additionally wants to devise multi-annual programmes that combine sustainability and digital instruments. He prompt that agri-food platforms that facilitate governments and personal sector interactions will assist obtain these objectives. He additionally proposed vocational coaching, alternate, analysis and innovation programmes to deal with a few of the challenges that African farming faces.
Professor Daniel Nahon famous that agriculture has extra extreme impacts on the setting than manufacturing and known as for extra sustainable farming in response to this menace. “We can therefore solve it through science and innovation. Likewise, the problem of energy consumption can be solved by using renewable energy because the sun, wind, tides and geothermal energy are inexhaustible resources,” he careworn.
Sustainability should be embedded in Africa’s inexperienced revolution
Ilyas El Fali noticed that whereas the worldwide inhabitants is estimated to enhance to 10 billion by 2050, arable land is projected to cut back by 24 p.c throughout the similar interval. This will increase the necessity for sustainable use of land and farming practices that protect soil well being.
He pointed to particular interventions that OCP is making in Africa to make this attainable, together with Agriboost, which is supporting farmers with coaching, inputs and advertising and marketing of their produce.
He stated that sustainability should be embedded within the African inexperienced revolution and that OCP was positioned to accomplice with African farmers, governments and establishments to comprehensively deal with challenges that the sector faces.