Huge agriculture potential meets growing demand for food

The Agricultural industry in Africa is witnessing an unprecedented development with the region having over 50% of the world’s fertile and untapped land. According to reports, the African agribusiness could be worth $1 trillion by 2030. However, to tap the agriculture potential of this historic continent & meet the ever-growing demand for food – Africa needs efficient and effective Machines, Equipment, Technology, Inputs & Solutions – a vast majority of which need to be imported.

Africa’s agricultural commodities and raw materials have traditionally dominated trade with the rest of the world (cocoa, coffee, cotton, tobacco and spices) with a mix of processed goods (cane and beet sugar, prepared or preserved tunas, wine and other preparations).

East Africa to double fruit and vegetable exports

The East African Community (EAC) unveiled its annual US $25m project to export fruits and vegetables regionally and internationally. If the strategic project sails through, it will see the EAC doubling its fruits and vegetable exports. In its 10-year strategic plan from 2021 – 2031, the EAC projects to increase the farming area under fruit production by 5% to 10 million hectares. If implemented, the intra – EAC trade in fruits and vegetable products would increase from the current $ 9.9 million to $ 25 million by 2031.

The region also plans to increase vegetable production by five percent of area cultivated to 45 million hectares from 32.8 million hectares with productivity increasing by at least 3%.

EAC’s Agenda for Agriculture

Agriculture is one of East Africa’s most important sectors, with about 80 percent of the population of the region living in rural areas and depending on agriculture for their livelihood.

The agricultural sector is dominated by smallholder mixed farming of livestock, food crops, cash crops, fishing and aquaculture:

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Cash crops

including tea, cotton, coffee, pyrethrum, sugar cane, sisal, horticultural crops, oil-crops, cloves, tobacco, coconut and cashew nuts

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Livestock sub-sector

consisting of of cattle, sheep, goats, and camels, mainly for meat and milk production; pigs and poultry for white meat and eggs respectively; hides and skins for export and industrial processing

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Fisheries products

including both fresh water fish from rivers, dams and lakes and marine fish from the Indian Ocean

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Forestry products

including fruits, honey, herbal medicine, timber and wood for fuel

EAC strategic interventions

The Agriculture and Rural Development Strategy outlines the strategic interventions identified for the acceleration of agricultural sector development. The following underpin these interventions:

  • Improving Food Security
  • Accelerating irrigation development
  • Strengthening Early Warning Systems
  • Strengthening Research, Extension and Training
  • Increasing Intra and Inter Regional Trade and Commerce
  • Physical Infrastructure and Utilities

The EAC plans to intervene through the following mechanisms:

  • Improving Food Security and Accelerating irrigation development by:
    • Improving the performance and increase the contribution of agriculture as a major entry point from development
    • Increasing availability of water in rain-fed agricultural areas to reduce poverty by increasing food security, high value products and improved incomes of the rural poor
  • Strengthening Early Warning Systems and Strengthening Research, Extension and Training by:
    • Managing food shortages brought about by frequent droughts and floods
    • Increasing agricultural productivity and returns to farmers
  • Increasing Intra and Inter Regional Trade and Commerce and Physical Infrastructure and Utilities by:
    • Developing an efficient network of physical infrastructure in rural areas to achieve high rates of growth, increasing productivity, trade and cooperation
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