THE story in the agricultural sector is heartwarming and encouraging, it is one worth celebrating.
The agricultural sector has surpassed the initial 2025 target of US$8,2 billion per year as it hits US$8,19 billion in 2021.
It is reported that our agricultural industry grew by 36,2 percent in 2021 and plans are afoot to grow it by further 10 percent in 2022.
And this record growth is said to be one of the drivers of the country’s record-breaking annual growth of 7,8 percent predicted for this year.
As we celebrate this milestone, we call on all the stakeholders in the sector not to slacken but consolidate the gains we have achieved.
We call on the private sector to increase its footprint in the agriculture sector.
The private sector can help by investing funds and knowhow, taking into consideration the fact that the country’s potential for growth and its untapped arable land offer huge opportunities in spite of the so-called ‘risks’.
Public-private partnerships can unlock value and further accelerate growth of this vibrant sector.
Agriculture, like tourism, is another low hanging fruit.
The results of a season can vastly improve our fortunes.
As we scale up and produce high quality crops and animals for the export market, the country will flourish, leading increasingly to not just poverty alleviation but wealth creation.
As more of our people see the promise of a better future in agriculture, many more clusters will be developed and make the country a high producer feeding the continent and the rest of the world.
According to the UN, rising urbanisation and the growth of urban middle-class consumers in Africa could lead to US$645 billion in growth in consumer spending by 2025 and of that growth, US$167 billion could be in food and beverages; a majority of that would come from sub-Saharan African countries.
Our country must not be left behind.
And to strengthen the link between agricultural growth, economic growth and poverty reduction in the country, our policy makers must come up with more measures to enhance productivity.
There is obviously need to strengthen agricultural value chains, increasing the rates of agricultural mechanisation, improving the participation of youth and women in agriculture, promoting climate-smart agricultural practices, and strengthening intra-African agricultural trade.
It is common knowledge that Africa is currently at the bottom of global agricultural value chains, exporting goods with very little or no processing which has resulted in our farmers failing to enjoy high returns from their work.
Effective supply chains, both up and downstream, as well as strong interactions between the informal and formal value chains, will indeed create opportunities for actors at each stage of the agricultural value chain, improve their gains and enhancing living standards