Expert Warns of $110billion Food Imports By 2025, Except…

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By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan.
The Director General of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Dr Nteranya Sanginga has cautioned African leaders to stop paying lip service to agriculture or be ready to spend $110billion on food imports by 2025 to feed Africans.
Dr Sanginga handed down the warning in Ibadan while addressing members of the Board of Trustees of IITA and researchers during the 2016 Partnership for Development Week (P4D Week).
He declared that “there are negative consequences if Africa continued to pay lip service to agriculture, and failed to invest in the sector,”saying,the neglect of agriculture would cost $110billion in terms of food imports by 2025 to feed Africans up from the current $35bn..
Dr Sanginga said a failure to invest in agriculture “would deprive the continent of necessary jobs and further fuel the spiraling rate of unemployment among the youth on the continent”.
Emphasizing that though some African governments have come to the realisation that agriculture was one of the ways to save the continent from the mess, he lamented that most countries in Africa were not investing enough in the sector, saying,“take for instance, the commitment to invest at least 10 percent of national budgets to agriculture. Not many countries are meeting this goal”.
Speaking further, the IITA DG lauded the African Development Bank for the new initiative, Technologies for African Agricultural. Transformation,to transform agriculture on the continent,saying, the “TAAT program is a new initiative of the AfDB in collaboration with the Consultative Group on International Agriculture Research (CGIAR) under the Feed Africa Initiative to drive agriculture development on the continent”.
“Through the TAAT program, the Bank aims to invest more than $800 million to the agricultural sector. The funds would be channeled into upscaling of proven innovations that will improve the fortunes of farmers and address the twin problem of food insecurity and unemployment”.
He then assured of  IITA’s commitment to supporting African smallholder farmers in the context of agribusiness such that agriculture transcends food for the fork to money in the pocket and that “IITA will continue to respond to the needs of Africa by developing innovations that will provide answers to Africa’s food insecurity”.
To this end, IITA will be demonstrating its scientific leadership not only in terms of qualitative research in the lab, but also impact in farmers’ fields.

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