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Africa: Traditional Markets, Small-format Shops Account For 90% Of Urban Food Retailing In Africa - Report

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Sani Ibrahim
Abubakar Tafawa Balewa,University
Agricultural economics and extension
100Level, Nigeria.
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Traditional markets and small-format shops currently account
for 80 to 90 per cent of urban food retailing in African cities, a
report has shown.
The 2020 Africa Agriculture Status Report (AASR) was
launched on Tuesday at the African Green Revolution Forum
( AGRF ) virtual summit in Kigali, Rwanda.
The report said small farmers reach urban food markets
primarily via traditional wholesale markets. "The efficient
operation of these markets, therefore, becomes key to small
farmer access and competitiveness," reads the report.
It envisions that supermarket shares, though currently small,
seem likely to increase in the coming decades.
While recognising the debilitating effects of the COVID-19
pandemic and its role in exacerbating existing economic and
social inequalities, the report defines five focus areas in a bid
to overcome the problem of urban under-nutrition and
accelerate the urgency of urban food system planning.
These focus areas include improved urban food system
governance; efficient urban wholesale markets; food safety
regulation and enforcement; regional free trade and
agricultural policy harmonisation, and agricultural research
focused on high-growth, high-value food commodities.
Domestic food distribution systems, intra-African trade and
food safety are the other themes of the report leading to the
conclusion that improved urban food system governance and
performance can create new opportunities for Africa to
transform its agricultural endeavors into thriving businesses.
This year's AASR focuses on Feeding Africa's Cities by
assessing the opportunities, challenges and policies required
to enable African farmers and agribusinesses to serve the
rapidly growing urban food markets.
The report seeks to find ways for smallholder farmers to drive
food security, rural prosperity, and inclusive economic growth.
"This report highlights the opportunity for all agriculture
industry stakeholders to bring together viewpoints that define
the transformation agenda, while outlining the practical next
steps to an agricultural revolution," said Agnes Kalibata,
President of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa
The report began by outlining the opportunities provided by
Africa's urban food markets to the continent's 60 million
It indicates that cities shape Africa's agribusiness environment
by affecting patterns of agricultural production and inducing
the rapid expansion of food processing and distribution plans.
"This year's AASR shows that as the center of gravity in
Africa's agri-food systems shifts increasingly towards urban
areas, a cohort of new, non-traditional actors including city
planners, mayors, district councils, trader organizations and
public health professionals - are becoming key players in the
implementation of agricultural policy," said Andrew Cox,
AGRA's Chief of Staff and Strategy.
Subsequent chapters touch on the opportunities in Africa's
growing urban food markets while recognising that the
effective governance of urban food systems requires inclusive
models that coordinate and harmonize the actions of the
many diverse players now shaping African agri-food systems.
This is the first time in history that the AGRF is held virtually, in
line with COVID-19 containment measures.
The theme of the Forum is Feed the Cities, Grow the
Continent: Leveraging Urban Food Markets to Achieve
Sustainable Food Systems in Africa, a call to action to rethink
Africa's food systems in the delivery of resilient, better
nourished, and more prosperous outcomes for all.

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