Development initiatives for sub-Saharan agriculture and food production industries

published in February 2012
Demographic trends and food crises are making reform of Africa’s agriculture and agro-industry a matter of necessity. Solutions do exist – solutions which are to a large extent dependent on the private sector.
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Sub-Saharan Africa is about to undergo an unprecedented demographic explosion: in 40 years its population will triple and the ratio of urban to rural dwellers will be reversed. Today, and even more so in the future, the continent’s stability – and this is a continent where 75% of the poorest people live in rural areas – depends on growth in the agricultural and agro-industrial sector. This sector, a key economic growth driver (15% of GDP) and the primary source of employment and revenues, must prepare to confront a colossal challenge: how will a population of two billion be fed in 2050 – with more than half of them living in urban areas? The answer to this question involves simultaneously overcoming several very familar agricultural challenges: improving yields, optimising the value of agricultural land and preserving biodiversity. More added value must also be created in the agri-food anda agro-industrial sectors. Investments in post-harvest operations, storage infrastructures, logistics, processing and distribution are essential. They will stimulate the creation of value and jobs, and increase producers’ revenues.

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