Africa Agriculture Status Report 2020: Here are the major highlights

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This year’s Africa Agriculture Status Report puts focus on ‘Feeding Africa’s Cities’ by evaluating the opportunities, challenges as well as policies needed to enable farmers and businesses to serve rapidly growing urban food markets.

The report seeks to find methods for smallholder farmers to drive rural prosperity, food security, and inclusive economic growth.

“Africa’s cities currently provide the largest and most rapidly growing agricultural markets in Africa. Out of total urban food sales of roughly US$200 to US$250 billion per year, over 80% comes from domestic African suppliers. In the coming decades, demographic projections forecast rates of African urbanization as the highest in the world,” the report said.

As the center of gravity in Africa’s food system moves to urban areas, new actors — including mayors, city councils, district governments, urban planners, public health officers, and industry trade associations — become central to the effective functioning of agricultural input and output markets, food processing, and food safety systems.

“As a result, effective urban agricultural policy requires new forms of governance, consultation, and coordination.”

Not only the report recognized the devastating effects of the ongoing crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, but also it defined 5 focus areas in an attempt to overcome the problem of urban under-nutrition and accelerate the urgency of urban food system planning. These focus areas are:

(1) Improved urban food system governance

(2) Agricultural research focused on high-growth, high-value food commodities

(3) Food safety regulation and enforcement

(4) Regional free trade and agricultural policy harmonization

(5) Efficient urban wholesale markets