About US$50B is spent on importing agricultural commodities, and could increase to US$110B by the year 2025.
Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, the African Union commissioner for the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment made the remarks during an event dedicated to “the future of agricultural trade in Africa in the context of the African Continental Free Trade Area” (AFCFTA).
For Josefa Sacko, these figures according to projections made could increase to US$110B by the year 2025.
“Africa is a major importer of various goods”
She said for example that in 2018 alone, African Union Member States imported about 13 million tons of rice, at a cost of about US$5.2B, which reached US$7B in 2020.
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According to the statistics of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) the African content also imported 20 million tons of corn, its main staple in 2018, totaling US$3.6B in 2018, a growth 2.7% over the previous year.
During her speech, she added that although Africa has about 60% of the world’s uncultivated arable land, and the youngest population on the planet, “still, we see that many of them are not interested in conventional agriculture because of the tedious work involved and the low pay,” she emphasized.
The Covid-19 pandemic, she said, further exposed Africa’s vulnerability to food and nutrition security due to its heavy reliance on food imports, which has been exacerbated by the breakdown of food supply chains.