He said, “The future of food in the world will depend on what Africa does with agriculture.” Despite the fact that ADB is envisioning a food secure continent through uses of advanced technologies, creative adapts to climate change, and develop a whole new generation of what was described as ‘agripreneurs.’ He added, the empowerment of youth and women are expected to take agriculture to the next level.
Sierra Leone is situated on a 72,300 km square area of landmass of which 72% is arable yet only 12.2% is under cultivation. In 2017 it was estimated that the government spent over $200 million USD on the importation of rice.
Early July this year, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry engaged the private sector in a consultative conference on “In country resource mobilization to transform rice production”. More than 50 years after independence, the country is yet to be food self-sufficient despite the millions of aid dollars invested in the agricultural sector.
Vice President Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh has said they would drive the private sector to invest in the agriculture sector. Prior to the March 2018 national elections the country was rated the third hungriest nation in the world.
It is being predicted that by 2050, an additional 38 million Africans will be hungry and the paradox is Africans live in the midst of plenty. Africa receives only 2% of the $100 billion USD annual revenue from chocolate globally. The ADB President said, “Adding value to what nations produce is the secret to their wealth. Producing chocolate instead of simply exporting cocoa beans does not require rocket science.”
Africa continues to import what it should be producing, spending $35 billion USD on food imports each year, a figure that is expected to rise to $110 billion in 2025 if present trends continue.
The Ministry of Agriculture has prioritized in-country rice production to cut on the huge sum of money on rice importation. He reiterated the shift from importation of rice to a situation where the private sector will take full responsibility of rice production, processing and exportation.