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Why food import is rising rather than export in Africa- FARA

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Yemi Akinbamijo, executive director, Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), Ghana, has stressed the need for the African continent to shift into more organized market to create good incentives for producers as well as farmers.

Akinbamijo who disclosed this in a paper, entitled, ‘New trends in agricultural research for development’, at the closing ceremony of the Institute of Agricultural Research & Training (IAR&T), Ibadan, 50th anniversary, held recently said Africans need to harness the potentials of 4th Industrial Revolution technologies based on strong innovation ecosystem that include skills, infrastructure, regulations and policies.

Akinbamijo who underscored the need for new partnerships, funding mechanisms as well as frameworks for financing Agricultural Research for Development (AR4D) in the continent, however, insisted that food production in Africa cannot increase if mechanised farming is not practiced.

“It is not rocket science that we are eating chicken from Netherland. I feel it is a pathetic situation here. I recalled in 2003 this country hosted three conferences on agriculture and food but up till today, the country is still struggling to bridge the gap.

“We need new approaches to move forward, if we continue business as usual, no country will meet the Malabo declaration of doubling agricultural productivity by 2025.

“So, righting this wrong is a task before IAR&T and other research institutes. FARA is the apex agricultural body in Africa. In 2003, Heads of States/ Governments made a declaration that should keep Africa. So, Africa missed out from Maputo in 2003, and quickly what we did, we ran to Malabo in 2014.

He bemoaned the use of crude implements saying it has remained the major reason importation of food and other agricultural products are rising in Africa and Nigeria in particular.

Akinbamijo while speaking said it was unfortunate that after Nigeria signed various declarations such as the Malapo, Maputo declarations, the country and most African countries are still exporting food farther than exporting.

Eyitope Ogunbodede, Vice Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife and a professor however appealed to governments in the South-West region to support research institutes, such as IAR&T to improve agriculture and food production.

He underscored the need for Africa to engage more in mechanized agriculture to improve food production in the continent, as he urged IAR&T to ensure that farmers benefitted from its various research and experiments.

He congratulated the management, staff of the institute for the notable achievements it had made despite the dwindling of funds.

Professor James Adediran, executive director, IAR&T expressed gratitude to God for granting them a safe, successful anniversary celebration with no casualty.

“I am amazed of the spirit with which the whole staff joined hands to celebrate every day, moment; the road show was well attended, participatory and exciting,” he said.

 

Akinremi Feyisipo, Ibadan

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