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Sani Ibrahim
Abubakar Tafawa Balewa,University
Agricultural economics and extension
100Level, Nigeria.
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When most people think of agriculture in Africa , images of
poor and overworked farmers with crude tools on a rural far
readily come to mind. Many, especially young Africans, still
think that agribusiness is a poor man’s occupation. Nowadays
everybody wants a white-collar office job in the city.
Agribusiness is hardly on anyone’s mind.

Did you know that Africa sits on an agribusiness goldmine because
most people just dont’t see it? If you’re one of the blind, allow
me to open your eyes with a few exciting facts you need to
know about agribusines in Africa…

Did you know that Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote,
recently invested $1 billion in rice production ? Every year,
Africa spends billions of dollars on rice imports, and Dangote
surely wants a juicy slice of the market.

Did you know that since 2009, investors in the USA, Europe,
Middle East and Asia have been buying and leasing millions
hectares of African land for agricultural purposes ? Many
people may not know it but there’s a trend of serious land
grabbing by foreign interests for African land.

Did you know that Foreign Direct Investment in African
agribusiness was $10 billion in 2010 and is projected to reach
$45 billion by 2020? Agriculture is taking a huge leap in Afric
and investors want a piece of the action too.

Did you know that Africa’s agribusiness industry will be worth
$1 trillion by 2030 ! That’s huge! If this projection by the UN
comes true, agribusiness will become the ‘new oil’ in Africa!
In the light of all these facts, how come the rich and wealth
folks are investing in Africa’s agribusiness industry while the
majority of Africans are largely ignorant about the amazing
potentials of agriculture on the continent?

In the rest of this article, I’ll share with you five reasons why
agriculture is the biggest business opportunity right now in
Africa. I’ll tell you why many of the world’s top business
people are investing in African agribusiness.

1. Africa Has Abundant And Cheap
Agricultural Land.

According to the World Bank, Sub-Saharan Africa is home to
nearly 50 percent of the world’s fertile, usable and
uncultivated agricultural land. The size: over 200 million
hectares! This is why the continent is now widely considered
to be the future breadbasket of the world. It is this huge
abundance of land resources that gives Africa the strategic
potential to feed the world!
Most of Africa’s agricultural land lies in the savannah and
tropical rain forest belt, which receives a favourable amount
rainfall and sunlight all year round. As a direct consequence,
more than 80 percent of food crops consumed across the
world can be produced here.
Interestingly, a large proportion of Africa’s agricultural land is
located in the rural areas. That’s why they’re often cheap to
buy or lease. On the average, one hectare of land (10,000sq
can be leased for as low as $100 per year (depending on the
location). This makes it one of the best land bargains you ca
find anywhere in the world!

2. Africa Has A Ready Market And High
Demand For Agricultural Produce.

Agribusiness is one of the best business opportunities in the
world because food never goes out of fashion. People must
eat food everyday!
Currently, Africa’s population is just over one billion people.
its current growth rate, the continent’s population is expecte
to reach 2.2 billion by 2050. Now and in the future, Africa wil
always have a lot of mouths to feed.
Africa currently spends billions of dollars every year to impo
grains, flour and all kinds of finished and semi-finished food
which it can produce locally. There is a huge opportunity for
entrepreneurs who can provide cheaper and locally-grown
alternatives to the food that Africa imports.
It’s not just the food industry that depends on agribusiness.
Several other industries, especially the manufacturing and
processing industries, depend on agribusiness for a wide ran
of raw materials. As Africa’s economies continue to grow, t
demand for raw materials will surely increase and create mo
interesting opportunities for agribusiness on the continent.

3. Improved Varieties And Farm Practices Ar
Changing The Game Across Africa.

Agribusiness in Africa has suffered through the years because
of its poor yields and crude farm practices.

Most of the crops
cultivated on the continent produce very little and are often
very prone to pests, diseases and drought. As a result, most
African farmers used to work very hard but have very little to
show for all their hard work during harvest time.

However, due to advances in crop/animal science and
technology, it is now possible to harvest more food per
hectare than ever before in Africa’s history.
There are now
improved crop and animal varieties that mature earlier, require
less resources, and are less susceptible to pest attacks,
diseases and drought Across Africa, these improved varieties
are increasing yields by as much as 400 percent!
There are now improved and locally-adapted varieties of
maize, cassava, millet, rice, sorghum, beans, sweet potato,
cowpea, groundnut, soybean, pigeon pea, banana,
wheat, and bread wheat.

There are also several local and international organisations
that are focused on supporting African farmers with improve
seedlings and support. One of such organisations is the
Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), launched b
the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates
Foundation in 2006.

4. Agribusiness Is Very Scalable. You Can
Start With What You Have!

Whether you own one plot of land or 10,000 hectares,
agribusiness is one of few business opportunities that allow
you to start on any scale, with whatever you have!

Entrepreneurs like South Africa’s Anna Phosa started her
agribusiness in 2008 in her backyard with just four pigs.
she owns a 350-hectare pig farm and is a major supplier to
Pick n’ Pay, the South Africa supermarket chain.

The opportunity to start small means that people with little
capital can become part of Africa’s multi-billion dollar
agribusiness industry. Because of the guaranteed demand fo
agricultural produce, that small vegetable or poultry farm in
your backyard could just become a huge business tomorrow.

Every evidence shows that you don’t have to be a wealthy
investor with millions of dollars in the bank or a highly-
educated person in order to start a business in agriculture in
Africa. You can start where you are and use what you have,
and grow from there. You can start your agribusiness journe
in your home backyard or do it on a part-time basis with you
day job. It’s very flexible that way!

5. Agribusiness Is A Huge Job Creator.

Agribusiness is one of the most effective ways to create job
and empower millions of Africans. At present, up to 60 per
cent of the labour force in Sub-Saharan Africa is employed i
the agribusiness industry. Agribusiness remains a top emplo
of labour in many African countries.
The value chain in the agribusiness industry, from food
production, processing and marketing provide huge
opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship.
So, if you’re looking to start a business or invest in an indus
that makes a significant social impact, provides jobs and
creates sustainable wealth, agribusiness is surely the way to


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