Agriculture should reclaim its “rightful position” in national development programs across Africa, says Kwaku Owusu-Baah, director of economic studies of the Inter-African Coffee Organization.
“[W]hy [should we] for so long neglect agriculture when over 240 million Africans are facing hunger and are undernourished, forgetting that agriculture is the backbone of African economies,” Owusu-Baah told the African Development Bank in an interview following the fifth African Economic Conference held last month in Tunis.
The continent is still reeling from food crises, rising food prices, generalized poverty, low agricultural productivity and competitiveness, and inadequate research and development.
“Africa may have had some growth in the past but without agricultural development that growth neither brought appreciable development nor sustainable levels of employment,” Owusu-Baah noted.
The agricultural economist urged AfDB to scale up its existing commitment to agriculture, while calling African nations to earmark at least 10 percent of their budgets to agriculture.