Oxford Business Group (OBG), a business intelligence and consultancy firm, has launched a new focus report. Titled ‘Agriculture in Africa 2022’, this is the third study of the group devoted to this major theme for the continent and produced in collaboration with OCP Group, leader in plant nutrition and the world’s first producer of phosphate-based fertilizers.
With Africa’s population expected to double by 2050, according to the World Bank, and food demand expected to grow by 55% by 2030, the challenge of food security is a major issue. Indeed, 85% of the continent’s food is nowadays imported, according to data published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
While the continent has the world’s fastest-growing agricultural sector, with an average annual growth rate of 4.3% since 2000, the development of the vast amount of uncultivated arable land will not be enough to meet the growing demand for food. OBG’s Focus Report explores various possibilities and concrete solutions available to meet the food needs of the population, while at the same time integrating the sector into a sustainable and climate change-friendly development.
Increasing production will not be possible without increasing productivity. The report highlights the need for circular and green economy practices, such as converting organic waste into productive inputs or recycling water, alongside climate-smart agriculture interventions.
It also stresses that boosting productivity and increasing incomes for smallholders, who produce 80% of the food in sub-Saharan Africa, requires greater use of renewable energy technologies and increased support for the institutions that generate them, including research, development and engineering systems, lamenting the lack of funding currently available for these ecosystems. Increasing productivity also helps to preserve ecosystems and biodiversity.
The study also argues that while Africa has the potential to feed the world’s population in the coming years, in order to accomplish this, land must be developed in a sustainable manner by also addressing issues such as deforestation and inefficient fertiliser use. This would require the adoption of a green economic model, which is characterised by being low-carbon, resource-efficient and socially inclusive.
The report also includes four interviews with renowned experts. Hanane Mourchid, executive director for sustainability and green industrial development of OCP Group, offers insights into how the circular economy and sustainability policies will help address the challenges that agriculture faces in Africa. In addition, she explains the importance for companies to implement sustainability policies and how the private sector and academia can work together to implement smart farming practices. Tony Siantonas, director, scaling positive agriculture, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, presents solutions for enhancing sustainability and food security, emphasising the importance of maintaining soil health and the need for long-term investment and innovation. Kaushik Majumdar, director-general, African Plant Nutrition Institute, advocates smart and calibrated plant nutrition to counter the adverse effects of climate change and discusses the key role of public-private partnerships in research and development, as well as knowledge transfer in the African agricultural sector. Finally, Hicham El Habti, President of the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P), explains how technology and innovation can concretely help farmers.
For the third consecutive year, OBG has been supported by OCP Group to produce this multifaceted and insightful analysis, which will be complemented by an illustrative video and podcast on the report’s key findings, prospects, challenges and issues for the sector. Karine Loehman, OBG’s managing director for Africa, welcomed the release of this comprehensive report: “A range of solutions exist to enable African agriculture to adapt to the food, economic and climate challenges. There is an urgent need to invest in human capital so that people can fully reap the benefits of the technological advances and innovative and dynamic financing instruments that exist today.”
‘Agriculture in Africa 2022’ is part of a series of tailored studies that OBG is currently producing, which includes environmental, social and governance ( ESG) intelligence and future readiness reports, as well as other highly relevant, go-to research tools, such as country-specific growth and recovery outlook articles and interviews.