President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, said yesterday on the occasion of the Feed Nigeria Summit that Africa produces 75% of the world’s cocoa, but receives only 3% of the $100 billion a year revenue in the global market for chocolate.
“Africa exports raw materials. The price of cocoa may decline, but never the price of chocolates. The price of cotton may fall, but never the price of clothes and garments. While coffee farmers face declining prices, coffee grinders smile all the way to the markets,” he said.
Adesina said Agriculture in Africa must move away from being treated as a social sector for managing poverty, to a business for creating wealth and that development of agricultural value chains will create market opportunities for hundreds of millions of farmers.
“Africa imports $35 billion of food annually, expected to rise to $110 billion by 2025, if the current trend continues. As it does so, Africa decimates its rural areas, exports jobs and erodes incomes of its farmers.
“Imagine what $35 billion will do if Africa could feed itself: It is enough to provide 100% of the electricity in Africa. And $110 billion savings in food imports is enough to close the whole of the infrastructure deficit in Africa.
He reiterated that Africa must think differently and that to transform its rural economies, Africa must embark on agricultural industrialisation and add value to all its agricultural commodities.
“Governments should provide incentives to food and agribusiness companies to locate in rural areas. Staple crop processing zones – vast agro-industrial zones, enabled with infrastructure – should be developed, to support food industry to establish in rural areas. This will reduce cost of doing business, create huge markets pull for farmers and reduce post-harvest losses. These staple crop processing zones will transform rural Africa into new zones of economic prosperity.
When I became President of the African Development Bank, I put agriculture high on the agenda for Africa. The African Development Bank has committed to investing $24 billion in agriculture in the next ten years, to help drive the transformation of African agriculture.”