Neglect Of Agric May Raise Africa’s Food Import Bill To $110bn By 2025- IITA DG

Neglect Of Agric May Raise Africa’s Food Import Bill To $110bn By 2025- IITA DG

Nteranya Sanginga, Director General of the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), says the continued neglect of the agric sector by African countries could have far reaching negative consequences in the coming years.
One of these, he told members of the Board of Trustees of IITA and researchers during the 2016 Partnerships for Delivery (P4D) Week in Ibadan, is an estimated 214.28% within seven years.
Specifically, Sanginga said neglect of agriculture would cost the continent up to $110 billion in terms of food imports by 2025; up from the current $35 billion.
This failure to invest in agriculture, he told the gathering, would raise unemployment level in the continent, especially among the youth.
He acknowledged the efforts of most African governments that have since realised that agriculture remains a key to save the continent from the looming catastrophe. Most countries on the continent, he stressed are not keeping pace with the level of investment needed in the sector.
“Take for instance, the commitment to invest at least 10 percent of national budgets to agriculture. Not many countries are meeting this goal,” he stressed.
He commended the African Development Bank (AfDB) for its latest initiative—Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT), aimed at transforming agriculture on the continent.
As part of the TAAT programme, AfDB plans to invest over $800 million into upscaling proven innovations that will improve the lot of farmers, while addressing the twin problems of food insecurity and unemployment.
The programme is part of the Feed Africa Initiative aimed at driving agricultural development on the continent.
Sanginga also reiterated IITA’s commitment to supporting African small-scale farmers in agribusiness such that agriculture transcends “food for the fork” to “money in the pocket”.
According to him, IITA will continue to respond to the needs of Africa by developing innovations that will provide answers to Africa’s food insecurity. To this end, IITA will be demonstrating its scientific leadership not only in terms of qualitative research in the lab, but also impact in farmers’ fields.
He said that IITA’s priority for the future would focus on research, capacity development, partnerships, impact at scale, and most importantly, delivery.
The DG said IITA’s internal reorganization had put the Institute in a better position to address the challenges confronting Africa more than ever before.
He called on researchers to redouble their efforts and commitment to the ideas, mission, and vision of the Institute which includes lifting 11 million Africans out of poverty and the reclamation of 7.5 million hectares of degraded land and putting them into sustainable use.