Agriculture in Africa

Agriculture employs 65% of Africa’s labor force and accounts for 32% of gross domestic product overall. Of the 65% employed, smallholder farmers produce 80% of Africa’s food. With modern technology, African countries are taking initiatives to change the agricultural sector.

Science Agriculture Estate Programme to Begins Next Year on Ghana News Agency
On November 19, Seth Terkper, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, announced that the Ghanaian government will begin working on an 11,000 hectare agricultural estates under the Accra Plains programme. The government has allocated GH¢9.7 million (roughly US$4.4 million) for the program to facilitate sustainable agricultural production as well as provide employment. The government will also distribute 180,000 metric tons of fertilizers and introduce a web-based software management program. Furthermore, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture will produce 4,127mt of seed cotton and 9,472 metric tons of lint.

ICTs Set to Transform Smallholder Farming on How We Made it in Africa
Despite the abundance of land, water, and cheap labour, Africa imported US$50 billion of food in 2012. With growing interest from investors and the well-known increase in mobile phone use, we can expect to see a transformation in Africa’s agricultural sector. For example, “Rwanda has committed to transforming the country through ICT. Information … [is] changing the face of agriculture and rural development in many countries,” stated Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources Dr Agnes Matilda Kalibata at Digital Springboard for Inclusive Agriculture conference. Earlier in November, the Rwandan government announced a new network that aims to provide high-speed broadband access to 95% of the population.

In Sierra Leone, Gov’t Recognises Importance of Agriculture for Prosperity by Edward Tommy on Awareness Times
As part of a three-day consultative dialogue, the President of Sierra Leone partnered with the World Bank, the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa, and many more to address the Agenda for Prosperity. During the three days, the committee focused on issues of the environment, science, and technology to improve the agriculture sector. Agriculture contributes to 60% of Sierra Leone’s workforce and GDP. As a result of agricultural production and employment, Sierra Leone has experienced economic growth at 7% per year and reduced the amount of people living under the poverty line. “Our major goal is to become a middle-income country. We, as a government put agriculture at the very center of the Agenda for Prosperity…of the 5.7 billions dollars to fund the Agenda for Prosperity … 1.6 billion dollars, is earmarked for the sector,” stated President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma during his address.

Nigeria Should Be a Power House of Food, Says Akinwumi by Kasim Sumaina on This Day Live
During the 2013 Korea International Cooperation Agency Alumni Seminar Session in Abuja, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi stated that Nigeria should be a powerhouse of food production. Just last year, Nigeria spent US$10 billion importing of wheat, rice, sugar, and fish alone. In order to make Nigeria a world producer of food, the Nigerian government is transforming ‘farming’ to ‘agriculture as a money making business.’  As part of the shift, the government will increase farmer’s access to modern agricultural inputs and ensure that farmers “get out of poverty traps.” They launched the Growth Enhancement Support Scheme and Electronic Wallet which allows farmers to receive electronic vouchers for seeds and fertilizers. This development in the electronic wallet system is one of the first of its kind in Africa.