President Bio at agriculture and agribusiness summit in Dakar

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 26 January 2023:

Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio was at the opening ceremony of the Dakar Summit on agriculture and agribusiness being held at the Abdou Diouf International Conference Centre in Diamniadio, as part of the  development programme of the government to revitalise the economy of Senegal.

Themed, “Feed Africa: Food Sovereignty and Resilience”, the event brings together more than 1,500 people, including Heads of State and Government, Ministers in charge of economy and finance, agriculture and related sectors; Governors of Central Banks as well as private sector stakeholders, multilateral organisations, non-governmental organisations, leading academics and scientists.

President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina, said there is no doubt that the leaders who are gathered in Senegal, are ready to change the course of history for Africa, in two words: ‘Feed Africa’, calling for Africa to feed itself.

“While gains have been made in recent times, with agricultural growth in several countries, the continent remains over-dependent on food imports. Africa currently imports over 100 million metric tons of food, valued at $75 billion annually.

“Today over 283 million Africans go to bed hungry every day. This is not acceptable. No mother should ever have to struggle with rumbling of the stomach of a hungry child,” he said.

Dr Adesina, who was addressing the summit in three capacities, first, as the President of AfDB; second as a World Food Prize Winner; and third as a former Minister of Agriculture in charge of feeding 200 million people in Nigeria, assured that Africa could and needs to feed itself.

“With 65% of the uncultivated arable land left in the world being in Africa, what Africa does with agriculture will determine the future of food in the world. The recent disruptions of global food supplies have revealed again Africa’s vulnerabilities.

“To mitigate the effects of the Russian-Ukraine war on food availability in Africa, the African Development Bank immediately launched a $1.5 billion Africa Emergency Food Production Facility. The Facility approved operations for 34 countries within eight weeks.

“The facility is now supporting 20 million farmers in Africa to produce 38 million metric tons of food worth $12 billion. We do not work alone. Our efforts complement global initiatives from the G7, Europe and other development partners,” he announced.

Dr Adesina called on leaders to make agriculture and agribusiness very attractive to the youth as a vocation, and support women-owned and women-led agribusinesses, adding that the size of the food and agriculture market on the continent could rise to $1 trillion by 2030 and that agriculture needs to become Africa’s new source of wealth.

1 Comment

  1. According to Global food crisis report , one in five Africans goes to bed hungry .That’s a whopping 146 million Africans that suffer from acute food shortages. Majority of the causes of food insecurity can be attributed to man made disasters like civil wars , climate change and government policies that have failed to invest in agriculture and undermine local farmers , infavour of commercial farmers and by undercutting their hard labour by importing majority of the foods we consumed , which in turn take away much needed funding from other areas that needed investments. And in the case of Sierra Leone ,when you factor corruption it becomes a cocktail of unintented disasters both politically ,economically ,and most importantly social cohesion .Indeed is not rockets science to know a hungry man is an angry man..Areas like health , education , schools , and enduring national development projects , that spearhead economics activities and growth are all kicked in the long grass .The difference between President Makay Sall of Senegal, and President Bio is that both men are elected on a mandate to improve the lives of their peoples .Makay Sall is honoring the promises he made to his people while Bio and the Sierra Leone police are killing our youths .And on the other hand Senegal is bucking the trend of stunted economic growth, by investing in their young people .Education which is vital for any country’s economic growth, is playing it parts .Although Bio talks about his Free education mantra , it is important to remember a hungry child sitting in a classroom will find it difficult to follow the lesson being offered to them.Why should our country spend million of dollars importing Indian and Chinese rice, whilst at the same time offering very little support to our local farmers. If our governments is serious about food security, they will need to encourage our young people to take up farming and give them the training and tools necessary to achieve that goal .At the moment we have half baked agricultural government policies , and not enough substance built into the system to support local farmers .The lack of commitment by Bio and his government is telling .Bio likes to position himself as famers’s friends but when was the last time he took his time and attended an agricultural shows around the country. One can say anything about former Liberian President Doe ,but one thing you can’t accused him of is paying lip service to farming . Former Nigerian head of state is an other famer .We have the climate , the arable land and every that is lacking in most of the Sahel regional countries, the only thing we lack in abundance is the political will and direction about the way forward for our country .Food sufficiently starts with support for our local farmers .Where there are ways , there are means .We just need the commiments from government not photo opportunities .

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