Africa’s food imports senseless: Nigeria's Adesina - CNBC Africa

Africa’s food imports senseless: Nigeria's Adesina

Western Africa

by Trust Matsilele 0

Nigeria's agriculture minister says investments in the country's farming sector are set to grow. PHOTOS: 9jaflave/Duke

Speaking to CNBC Africa on the side-lines of the World Bank and IMF annual meetings Adesina said the region was spending about 45 billion US dollars on food imports annually.

“We have a lot of water and we have cheap labour across African economies and what we should be doing is producing our own food so that we become a global powerhouse in food production,” he said.

Adesina said the agriculture sector had positive future prospects.

(READ MORE: Agriculture, healthcare at the forefront of Nigeria’s future)

“The size of the food and agribusiness will be one trillion US dollars by 2030. The foreign direct investments that will go into this sector will rise to 45 billion US dollars by 2020 so as Nigeria we are paying attention into this sector.”

He also added that his country was going to turn agriculture into a big wealth creating sector.

“What we did first was acknowledging that agriculture is not a development activity or social sector it is a business and as government we will get out of the way and allow private business to make investments,” said Adesina.

The agriculture and rural development minister said the government will enact good policies, institutions, infrastructure and public goods that will help facilitate growth in the sector.

(READ MORE: Nigeria indigenous players call for reforms in agriculture sector)

“We have managed to attract about five billion US dollars within three years and we have managed to reach 14 million farmers within the same period,” added Adesina.

“The banks and farmers are making money and this shows that agriculture is a business.”

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He warned that banks were not philanthropic organisations and they are not going to lend money unless it is profitable to do so.

Adesina said the Nigeria government has managed to prove to business the value of investing in the agriculture sector giving an example of Aliko Dangote’s massive investments in the rice farming sector.

Dangote is reported to have made investments of up to one billion US dollars in Africa’s largest economy.

Adesina said challenges in agriculture sector had more to do with perceptions than actual risks in the industry.

“The perception of risk is what is affecting investment in the agriculture sector,” he said.

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