In his keynote address at the start of the recently concluded African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF2014) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Akinwunmi Adesina, minister of agriculture and rural development, said about 65 percent of the untouched arable land needed to feed 9 billion people globally by 2050 was in Africa.
We must unlock the potential of that land, he said, saying the paradigm must shift – we must embrace agriculture as a going business concern and not as a subsistence activity.
According to him, we in Nigeria have decided that we are not just going to be known for oil and gas, we are going to be known for agriculture, as no one drinks oil and no one smokes gas, but everyone eats food.
“Poverty is not a tradable commodity, and Africans must not feel sorry for themselves and simply bemoan their being poor. We have to invest in research and technology; you know research is everything, research drives agriculture. It is R&D that will enable Africa to surmount the enormous threat of climate variability,” he said.
This year’s AGRF held September 1 to 4, was co-convened by the Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions, African Union, African Development Bank, Alliance for the Green Revolution in Africa, Rockefeller Foundation, Syngenta International, Yara International, AGCO International, International Fund for Agricultural Development, and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.