Skepticism expressed about African agricultural ability to support agro-industry strategy

Reis Hall Allegheny CollegeAs the 11th African Economic Conference kicks off in Abuja, Nigeria, a study from Meredith Hanlon Department of Economics, Environmental Science and Biology, Alleghey College USA have expressed skepticism regarding African agricultural sector's ability to support the regions agro-industy strategy

On 5 December, the 11th annual African Economic Conference (AEC) started in Abuju, Nigeria. Nigeria's Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo opened the conference, and discussed the country's recession and it's loss in oil exports.

The event is set to host a variety speakers to talk about the economic status of countries across the region. Our sister publication Africa Review has featured a report based on the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) Economic Outlook to group sub-Saharan African economies in to three growth groups. The report can be viewed here

Stephen Onyeiwu of Allegheny College USA presented a report entitled "Is African Agriculture Sustainable Enough to Support an Agro-Allied Industrial Development Strategy? Evidence from Ghana and Nigeria" which expresses doubts that African agriculture can support an agro-industrial strategy. This is largely because of the difficulties that farmers have with climate change and environmental degradation. Onyeiwu also sees a low technical skill set being an issue for increased mechanization. 

"Mechanization can be done, but whether it can be done in a sustainable manner is what we need to determine. When we talk to the farmers, they say the rains are too much and more torrential. The rate of deforestation is also very high, leading to very high loss in forest cover, causing erosion and washing away nutrients." 

Onyeiwu continued and discussed his case study of Ghana and Nigeria of how sound economic policies could help improve the situation for farmers. 

"There are so many pathways to making agriculture sustainable. Governments, policy-makers and stakeholders should identify entrepreneurs like these and support them," he said.

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