Why food import is increasing more than export in Africa - Research expert

Daniel Agbolade, Ibadan

Executive Director, Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), Ghana, Mr Yemi Akinbamijo, has identified the use of crude implements such as cutlasses, hoes among others, as the major reason why importation of food and other agricultural products are increasing in Africa and Nigeria in particular. 

He made the disclosure while delivering a paper, entitled, "New Trends in Agricultural research for development", at the closing ceremony of 50th anniversary of Institute of Agricultural Research & Training (IAR&T), Ibadan, held at the institute’s hall. 

He said it was unfortunate that after Nigeria and other countries in the continent signed various declarations such as the Malabo, Maputo, amongst others, the country and most African countries are still importing food far more than what they are exporting. 

He underscored the need for Africa to engage more in mechanized agriculture to improve food production in the continent, urging  IAR&T to ensure that farmers benefitted from its various research and experiments.

While stressing the need for the continent to shift into more organized market to create good incentives for producers as well as farmers, Akinbamijo, however, insisted that food production in Africa cannot increase if proper care is not taken to engage in mechanised farming. 

He maintained that Africans need to harness the potentials of the 4th Industrial Revolution technologies based on strong innovation ecosystem that include skills, infrastructure, regulations and policies. He also underscored the need for new partnerships, funding mechanisms as well as frameworks for financing Agricultural Research for Development (AR4D) in Africa.

Vice Chancellor, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Mr. Ogunbodede, urged South West governments to support research institutes such as IAR&T to improve agriculture and food production in the states and Nigeria at large while lauding  the management and staff of the institute for the notable achievements it had made despite dwindling financial resources.

Executive Director of the Institute, Mr. James Adediran, expressed gratitude to God for granting them a safe, successful anniversary celebration with no incidents.

He said, “I am amazed of the spirit with which the whole staff joined hands to celebrate every day, moment; the road show was well attended, participatory and exciting.

“The sporting activities were well organized, the opening ceremony was classy, honorable, dignifying; the lectures were comprehensive, educative; proceedings of the donor agency forum were encouraging, fruitful. It gladdens my heart that every participant in these events was enthusiastic in contributing to the success of the golden jubilee celebration". 

Present at the ceremony are Olubadan of Ibadanland, Mr Saliu Adetunji, a former governor of Ekiti state, Mr Adeniyi Adebayo, ex-staff of the institute and farmers, among others. 

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