Make Africa the breadbasket of the world – Zokwana

South Africa’s Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Senzeni Zokwana, called on all stakeholders to support Africa’s vision of making the continent the breadbasket of the world.

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“I’m confident that if we can complement our rich natural resources base with requisite investments to support production, marketing, agro-processing and trade, our continent can easily feed itself and the rest of the world.”

Zokwana delivered the keynote address at the recent African Afri Investment Indaba in Cape Town.

Delegates included government officials, banks, financiers, investors, project owners, project developers, commercial farmers and members of the agro-processing industry.

Trends likely to influence the food and agribusiness sector in Africa over the next decade were discussed at the indaba.

According to Zokwana, it was saddening to see that Africa spent US$25 billion (about R350 billion) annually on food imports, when most African countries were exporters of raw materials.

“Our natural resources in the form of abundant natural land combined with our ability to produce primary products should be a motive for us to initiate an industrialisation programme through the promotion of agro-processing initiatives.”

Zokwana also made reference to the current drought in southern Africa and said that his immediate objective was to stabilise the agricultural sector and ensure that it returned to its glory days.

“To do so we will need support from multiple stakeholders in the form of active public-private partnerships.”