Africa must cut reliance on food imports, says Nigerian billionaire
Nigeria is set to lose more than 20 million acres of agricultural land this year due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, and Nigerian agri-businessman, Ayo Agwu, believes that African agriculture must transition to a more crop-centric model to lessen the impact of Covid-19.
Ayo Agwu, an entrepreneur and investor, is a former Nigerian minister of agriculture and the founder of Agria Partners, a private investment firm based out of Abuja, Nigeria. This is his second interview with OneAfrica and has been conducted to shed light on the challenges that African farmers will face after Covid-19 makes it difficult to export much-needed food.
Agri-business in Africa has evolved from an agricultural commodity to a full-fledged industry, and according to Ayo Agwu, Africa’s food security and agricultural industry will be severely affected by Covid-19.
Agri-business in Nigeria has transformed from an agricultural commodity into a full-fledged industry in just a few decades, after the country became a hub for international trade in agricultural products. Agriculture and food are considered as the backbone of Nigeria’s economy, and its importance can be gauged from the fact that 95 percent of the country’s exports in 2017 were from agriculture and food.
The sector contributes more than N20 trillion to the country’s gross domestic product, and this is a testament to the impact of agriculture on the economy. Nigeria’s agriculture industry contributes nearly 9 percent to its GDP, and is a major contributor to jobs and livelihoods.
In spite of the sector’s positive contribution to African economies, it has been affected by the effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic. In the first phase, the world’s largest economic recession is beginning to hit Africa hard, and in this phase, the economic loss for Africa is expected to reach N9 trillion in 2020. Agri-business in the continent has been hard hit.
Agri-business in Africa has evolved from an agricultural commodity