AFRICA – Africa’s agribusiness is projected to reach US$1 trillion by 2030 and this can be achieved through significant investments to unlock the industry’s potential, according to industry experts who attended the Africa Investment Forum held in South Africa.

It was noted that there was need to invest US$45 billion per year to harness the power of agriculture and move up the value chain to create jobs and wealth, reveals an APO report.

Given that only US$7 billion is invested in the sector, the leaders who included Aliko Dangote, president and CEO of the Dangote Group said investments from the private sector will create the adequate environment and enhance the emergence of locally owned agro-processing industries, capable of creating jobs and increasing incomes in rural Africa.

The continent could become a net exporter of agricultural commodities, replacing US$110 billion worth of imports, as well as doubling its share of market value for select processed commodities.

“We need to do the research to produce the right solutions to the issues we might face along the value chain.

Youth are particularly involved in this aspect as they know how to develop tools addressing issues such as water management and release,” said Mr Aliko Dangote.

Agribusiness can also promote industrialisation and urban employment, break the ‘productivity gap’ of development, and improve the quality of life for all Africans. Attendees said Africa’s agricultural potential needs to be unlocked.

For the small and medium scale farmers, the main challenge remains access to finance.

Zainab Shamsuna, Nigeria’s Minister of Finance urged investors and development partners to adapt their policies to accommodate more participants in the agriculture value chain.

“I want us to eat what we grow and consume what we produce,” she said.

“Agriculture is a key priority for the African Development Bank, through our Feed Africa strategy,” said Jennifer Blanke, the African Development Bank vice president for agriculture, human and social development.

“Understand that by transforming Africa’s agriculture sector it will become the engine that drives Africa’s economic transformation through increased income, better jobs higher on the value chain, improved nutrition, and so on.”

Africa’s agricultural potential lies in different categories including seed, fertilizer, mechanization, processing and storage.