Agricultural potential is enormous considering that commercial farming is growing gradually. Though small-scale farmers remain the dominant producers, Africa still relies on imported food. The African Development Bank (AFDB) estimated that the continent spent over 64.5 billion importing food in 2017.
AFDB formed the Feed Africa Strategy in response to this growing concern. It is part of the Bank’s strategy to transform agriculture in Africa. Ensuring that the agriculture sector is sustainable and competitive globally. Through this initiative, the lender seeks to enhance agricultural production and processing. The continent lacks enough agri-processing facilities which often impacts the value chain. As produce is exported for processing and re-imported as finished product. Prices for imported food are higher compared to food processed locally resulting in the end-user, particularly vulnerable groups being profoundly affected.
With a growing population, Africa’s agriculture should shift its focus to commercial farming and modern practices to meet demand. The multilateral lender pledged to engage with stakeholders such as farmers, governments, private sector, and civil society to achieve this critical goal. Also ensuring that the initiative is inclusive of women and youth often underrepresented. AFDB aims to increase access to affordable agricultural inputs such as irrigation, fertiliser, and seeds.
The strategy will also focus on agricultural technologies to encourage production and food safety to strengthen trade. In the current climate, agricultural financing is out of reach for the majority of small-scale farmers. The Bank intends to shift this narrative by working with private investors and commercial banks to finance agricultural projects. Its priority is to also improve the agribusiness environment through policy reforms and offer incentives for local production and processing.