THE UNTAPPED POTENTIAL OF AGRO-PROCESSING IN AFRICA

THE UNTAPPED POTENTIAL OF AGRO-PROCESSING IN AFRICA

For a long time now, the focus in Africa has being on averting food insecurity. According to a recent study by FAO’s Africa Regional Overview of Food security and Nutrition report 2017, the prevalence of undernourishment has risen from 20.8 to 22.7 percent.

Major factors affecting food production in Africa can be attributed to Poverty, climate change, lack of infrastructure, poor market for agricultural produce and poor storage methods. Despite having 60% of world’s uncultivated arable land and a high population of youth, production levels have remained at an all time low.

Due to lack of storage facilities, most farmers are forced to sell their products off cheaply in bid to avoid waste and rot. Often, these products are purchased by “middle-men” who would make huge profits off local farmers in the name of abridging transportation costs.

For rural farmers, realizing low income serves as a little incentive to increase production. Mustapha, a local farmer in northern Nigeria laments the low revenue recorded each year due to the increase in farmers supplying the same produce. He said “They (the middlemen] bargain like kings, knowing if you don’t buy from them, they can get it cheaply elsewhere. Although we know they sell it at thrice the price in the market, we have no option but to sell”

For a region that imports nearly $50 billion of food each year, it is impossible to claim that there is no market demand. What is obvious here is that there is a missing link in the agricultural value chain of Africa: Agro processing industries.

In order to fast track Africa’s agricultural development, eradicate food insecurity and eliminate poverty, the continent needs to make considerable investments in food processing industries. For example, even though Nigeria is the world’s largest producer of cassava, with an estimated output of 45metric tons, the country is still dependent on importation of starch products.

With a market demand of over 250,000 tons valued at $240m, the country only produces 27,000 tons. Cassava farmers lament that the crop usually needs to be moved quickly to processing plants while they still retain their starch content. But due to bad roads and long distances to factories this is usually impossible.

With food industries looking to expand production to meet demand, it is important to create more processing units to meet this demand while enabling farmers to provide raw materials. Efforts should be made in ensuring that all parts of the link complement one another and none is given preference over the other. This would go a long way in ensuring wealth distribution and eradicating poverty amongst local farmers.

Information should be made available to farmers on the benefits of using modern technology to achieve agricultural growth. Modern technology can be utilized to increase production at reduced efforts and costs. ProbityFarms is a solution designed to help farmers achieve better yield from farms. It provides an easy interface for farmer to store costs of farm activities and make well informed decisions on how to improve growth. Farmers can also access technologies such as weather reports, satellite imagery and NDVI crop imaging and farm overview. Visit www.probityfarms.com

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williamtobias replied
1 Month
Thanks for the info!
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