Players in the agriculture sector have called for a set of actions to unlock Africa’s potential to become a global food powerhouse, with the ability to produce enough to feed 1.4 billion people on the continent and have a surplus for export. They made the appeal during a live Twitter Space held by the African Development Bank (AfDB) as a lead up to the second Africa food summit which will take place in Dakar, Senegal from 25-28 January. With the removal of barriers to agricultural development aided by new investments, AfDB indicated, it is estimated that Africa’s agricultural output could more than triple from $280 billion per year to $1 trillion by 2030. But today, because of poor agricultural productivity, and missing links, Africa imports over 100 million tons of food at a cost of $75 billion per year, according to estimates shared during the event. The continental bank indicated that investing in raising agricultural productivity, supporting infrastructure, climate smart agricultural systems, with private sector investments plus the food value chain, can help turn Africa into a breadbasket for the world. Climate smart agricultural systems ensure increased food production through green and climate resilient practices. Germaine Akeza Nkunzurwanda, an agripreneur from Rwanda, said that currently, most of the food consumed in the world is produced by old smallholder farmers in developing countries, who are less inclined to adopt new technologies and practices needed to increase productivity. “I believe that since youth are the future of food security, it is equally important to equip youth in the agriculture value chain, as well as start-up enterprise funding, thus achieving Africa’s agriculture transformation,” she said, adding that it can help provide employment opportunities for the booming youth population. According to a report of the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World last year by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Africa is the region with the highest hunger prevalence, with 278 million people on the continent – or 20.2 percent of its population – being hungry in 2021 [from 257 million individuals in 2018]. Martin Fregene, Director of Agriculture and Agro-industry at the African Development Bank, said that Africa has land that can help it to produce the food its people need – indicating that the continent is home to 65 per cent of the remaining agricultural land in the world. However, he said that the concern that affects the continent is low productivity, indicating that the seeds of improved varieties he described as engines of agriculture productivity, and fertilisers as fuel. “We need to take the engine into the hands of the farmers,” he said, indicating that the number of farmers who grow improved seeds is decimal. He further added that every county in the world achieves food security through factors including technology, which he said increases food production by having very high productivity of crops, livestock and fish. “Today, Africa’s yield of maize is where the US’s yield of maize was in 1920, simply because we have neglected giving our farmers the best production technology,” he said. Akin Alabi, a farmer from Nigeria said the youth should realise the business part of agriculture so that they can grow that into a long-term career that will greatly contribute to the national GDP (economy) of their countries, and create employment and value along the entire ecosystem. For him, there is a need to grow public private partnership (PPP) within the sector so that the private partners can identify roles they can play around the entire ecosystem. Agriculture, he said, is definitely beyond farming; and that there was a need for the private partners to venture into the value chains such as logistics, agro-processing, transportation, and finance. “So, we need more private partners to come into play and add value, and invest a lot in the entire ecosystem,” he said.