The agri-food sector: a major source of employment in Africa

Africa, agri-food, agriculture

- le 19 Dec 2016

APEXAGRI was present at FARM foundation’s last conference, dealing with agri-food as a source of employment in Africa.

J.C. Debar, FARM Director

Jean-Christophe Debar, FARM Director (photographic credit FARM Foundation)

Today 60% of the African population is working in the agricultural sector, but is providing food for only 30% of it.
As Africa’s demography is expected to double by 2050, the continent will face two main issues: How to provide enough food for the population and how to create employment for future young working people?

In the context, 450 million jobs could be created but it needs the agribusiness to increase its productivity and strengthens its interaction between the upstream and downstream activities of the value chain.

A few development paths given during the conference to tackle those issues are:

AGRICULTURE:

  • Make agriculture more attractive for young people (new technologies, practical trainings…)
  • Promote co-operative models, gathering small unprofitable areas (less than 5ha) and sharing capital investments such as logistics: drying, storage…
  • Encourage agroforestry

AGRI FOOD:

  • Encourage the development of small and medium-sized businesses, compliant with international standards
  • Create competitiveness clusters and transformation hubs

DISTRIBUTION & CONSUMPTION:

  • Take advantage of the recent arrival of retailers in Africa
  • Educate people to consume local agricultural / agri-food products

Demography is both a challenge and an opportunity for the African continent. Sustainable development of agriculture and optimization of the value chains could transform it into a strong competitive advantage in the future.