'Africa spending at least $50bn on food imports,' says Zim's Mnangagwa

2018-05-16 05:58
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Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has reportedly urged African countries to focus more on agriculture, saying the continent imported food amounting to at least $50 billion per year.

According to NewsDay, Mnangagwa said this while speaking at the Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Union (Sacau) annual meeting in Victoria Falls.

Mnangagwa said the continent needed to "harness its arable land to stimulate economic growth and improve its food security".

He also said that farmers were exporting primary agricultural products and as a result were getting low returns due to non-existing facilities.

"It is regrettable that African countries spend between $30bn and $50bn annually on imports of agricultural products, instead of developing the productive capacities necessary for trade. This reality gives greater impetus for us all, governments, unions, farmers and private sector alike, to invest in agriculture to produce for our own needs within the continent as well as for export outside Africa," Mnangagwa was quoted as saying.

Bumper harvest

Mnangagwa also urged farmers to partner with institutions of higher learning to improve farming methods across the continent.

According to the state-owned Herald newspaper, the president said that partnership by all stakeholders in the agricultural sector was important for transformation in the industry and ensuring food security for the continent.

He urged the private sector to come on board and finance agriculture, saying that there were lessons to be learned from the southern African country's successful command agriculture programme last year.

A bumper harvest of maize helped Zimbabwe regain its food independence last year following government intervention known as the Command Agriculture programme, said reports. 

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Read more on:    emmerson mnangagwa  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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