AS  Vol.7 No.9 , September 2016
Strategic Agricultural Commodity Value Chains in Africa for Increased Food: The Regional Approach for Food Security
The challenge Africa faces the most is how to feed the 2.4 billion people in 2050. This will require a transformational agriculture. Africa doesn’t need subsistence agriculture, but rather agriculture linked to the market where market demand and the consuming habits are taken in consideration. Agriculture evolves in an environment where small holders are linked to markets (national and regional), where economies of complementarity and economies of scale are taken advantage of by producers and private sector. In short, Africa will need a paradigm shift to industrialise and commercialise its agriculture sector in order to increase food production, and income and to create jobs in and outside the sector. Africa needs agribusiness and agro-industries to domesticate the benefits of the sector, to create wealth in the sector and retain that wealth in the continent. Agricultural commodities regional value chains for increased food should be the target for Africa. The continent remains the region with the highest prevalence of under-nourishment. Since agriculture remains the mainstay of most African economies except the mineral producers, the sector deserves a close attention from leaders. It accounts for 65% of employment and 40% of Africa’s export earnings and accounts for 17% of the GDP. This shows how important the sector is. Agriculture needs to be seen as a conduit for farmers to get connected to markets, a conduit for revenue, for jobs and for transformation. Africa needs to come back on the international scene as food sufficient continent and even food exporter. This can be achieved only with a stable, productive agricultural resource base. Thus, achieving and sustaining food security and economic prosperity in Africa will require significant efforts to modernize the continent’s agriculture sector through injection of agribusiness and agro-industries and through the application of science and technology in agriculture. In essence, agriculture needs to be viewed as knowledge based entrepreneurial activity. Smart investments in agriculture will have multiplier effects for the whole economy and hence induce prosperity to other sectors. In recent years, a renewed focus on agriculture has been evident in policy and development agendas across the African continent. This paper outlines the status of agriculture, agribusiness and agro-industries in Africa, their role in the agenda of agricultural transformation and economic transformation and the focus on regional value chain to increase food production, transformation and trade. The paper adopts a new thinking in agriculture, which reflects a regional value chain approach. The author covers such issues as: need for agricultural transformation, the role of value chain in agricultural sector, the need for regional value chain for increased income and increased food, the role of markets and the common denominator of all, the regional integration to push forward the African agriculture agenda. Evidence shows that it is agricultural growth, through its leverage effects on the rest of the economy that typically enables poor countries, poor regions and ultimately poor households to take the first steps toward economic transformation. Therefore agricultural productivity, at the small holder’s level, has the potential to lift millions of Africa’s vulnerable out of poverty and provide sustainable jobs. Other factors, namely “the rapid urbanization” and “increased population growth”, are quoted to be of critical importance. Africa population is projected to double, attaining the 2.3 billion people mark over the next 40 years representing half of the globe’s total population. This could trigger competition for resources and can have devastating effects on natural resources if not rightly channelled.
Cite this paper: Nassirou Ba, M. (2016) Strategic Agricultural Commodity Value Chains in Africa for Increased Food: The Regional Approach for Food Security. Agricultural Sciences, 7, 549-585. doi: 10.4236/as.2016.79055.

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