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Adesina emphasises role of agriculture to attain global food security

Akinwumi Adesina, president of African Development Bank (AfDB), has delivered a speech on how to make agriculture work for Africa and the world at Wageningen University & Research in The Netherlands

“In the world today, the number of hungry people has increased from 777mn in 2015 to 815mn people in 2016. In the case of Africa, climate change will add an additional 38mn people that are hungry by 2050, according to the International Food Policy Research Institute. Let’s also be clear, we are not yet winning the war against global hunger and malnutrition,” Adesina added.

“We have a moral responsibility to tackle this problem. It’s one that we can collectively address. In the case of Africa, there is absolutely no reason for food insecurity on the continent.”

Africa has 65 per cent of all uncultivated arable land in the world to feed nine billion people by 2050.

“Therefore, what Africa does with agriculture will determine the future of food in the world. The greatest agenda we have is how to unlock Africa’s agricultural potential,” Adesina stressed.

Opportunities in agriculture

“First and foremost is the size of food and agribusiness in Africa, which will be a one-trillion-dollar industry by 2030. Quite naturally, this is a money-making sector to help not only to feed Africa but also to create an enormous amount of wealth for Africa. The irony is that Africa is spending US$35bn on food imports each year, which if nothing is done will rise to US$110bn by 2020.”

If Africa can get the right tech to raise productivity, transform its savannahs, turn agriculture into a business and address the issue of nutrition - Africa can feed itself in 10 years and contribute to feeding the world in the years to come.

Initiatives by AfDB

The Bank has launched the Feed Africa strategy, investing US$24bn in agriculture over the next 10 years. Our focus is scaling up technology to reach millions of farmers.

As part of this plan, the Bank is building and developing agricultural value chains that will allow Africa to process and add value to everything it produces.

Third, we support the production, distribution and availability of nutritious food to address malnutrition and stunting.

Turn agriculture into a wealth-creating sector and not one for managing poverty.