The 2009 Economic Report on Africa (ERA) has warned that the food crisis across Africa is not over yet although food prices are on the decline.
The report which is a flagship publication of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the Africa Union Commission says that food prices are likely to stay high in the medium term.
“At the same time, many African countries continue to suffer from food shortage and food insecurity due to drought, conflicts and rigid supply conditions among other factors,” adds the report that was launched yesterday at Kigali Serena hotel.
This year’s report is focused on “Developing African Agriculture through Regional Value Chains”.
It provides a comprehensive analysis of developments in African economies over the preceding year, and offers projections for the upcoming year.
“In addition to strengthening emergency responses, Africa needs to have a long-term focus on agricultural development and transformation in the context of economic diversification,” the report reads in part.
Ernest Ruzindaza, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture said that the Rwanda is aware of the importance of agriculture to the economy.
“We have several plans in the pipeline such as to mitigate decline of the sector but rather spur its development,” he explained.
Ruzindaza revealed plans of uses of water harvest systems to reduce dependency on rain water, which is unreliable.
Agriculture employs the biggest percent of Africa’s population. In Rwanda, over 80 percent are directly or indirectly involved in agriculture for survival.
According to statistics from the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR), the sector also boosted Rwanda’s real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from 7.9 percent in 2007 to 11.2 percent last year— a record in the country’s economic growth history.
Rwanda has maintained that the country is not suffering from any food crisis despite the problem being reported in other regional countries such as Uganda and Kenya.