Agriculture offers great opportunities for Africa

According to Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde, agriculture in Africa offers massive opportunities.

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Not only is 65% of the continent’s population employed in the agricultural sector, but sub-Saharan Africa also has 60% of the world’s underutilised arable land.

Winde delivered the keynote address at the inaugural Africa Agri Investment Indaba in Cape Town recently.

More than 600 industry experts came together to discuss trends that influence food production and the agri-business sector.

In 2015, Africa’s agricultural exports reached R700 billion, which was an annual increase of 17% over the past decade.

“Investment flows into Africa increased to more than US$200 million [about R2,8 billion) in 2014 and projections show this upward trend is set to continue.”

According to Winde, Africa had a large role to play in global food security in the medium to long term, but a beneficial economic and policy environment needed to be created to facilitate investment. A number of challenges also needed to be addressed.

One of the challenges he highlighted was skills development for the youth.

“Over 60% of sub-Saharan Africa’s population is [younger than] 25. Investment in young people in the agri [sector] is imperative,” Winde said.

Drought was another important challenge faced by South Africa and the entire sub-Saharan region.

“For us to become the food basket [of the continent we need to make sure that the necessary mitigating programmes are in place,” Winde said.