Editorial: Africa has potential to become global food basket

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has developed a new initiative called the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) – a knowledge and innovation-based response to the recognised need of scaling up proven technologies across Africa.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has developed a new initiative called the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) – a knowledge and innovation-based response to the recognised need of scaling up proven technologies across Africa.

The initiative is expected to support AfDB’s Feed Africa Strategy for the continent to eliminate the current massive importation of food by targeting agriculture as a major source of economic diversification and wealth, as well as a powerful engine for job creation.

This initiative is timely and key in addressing the challenge of food security on the continent that has over time become a net importer of food-spending 35 billion US dollars in importing food; a figure that is projected to grow to 110 billion US dollars by 2025.

But why is Africa importing what it should be producing? Why is a continent that has 65 per cent of the world’s arable land struggling to produce enough to feed its people?

These are the questions that policy-makers on the continent should ponder and find an answer to. Food security is critical if Africa’s development agenda is to be achieved.

Individual countries should embrace this initiative to accelerate agriculture transformation through modernisation to increase production of food.

TAAT should be fast-tracked to achieve the desired goal in value addition to traditional crops that are key in addressing the challenge of food shortage on the continent.

According to the United Nations’ 2015 World Population Prospect Report, 2.4 billion people are projected to be added to the global population between 2015 and 2050, with 1.3 billion in Africa alone.

And by 2050, the continent will be in need of food to feed over nine billion people. The time to act is now to ensure that Africa becomes a global food basket.

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