Africa has emerged as second fastest growing economy in the world with multifold increase in trade. African agriculture has observed unprecedented growth and stands largest contributor in continent’s economy. Though agricultural growth is outdone by population growth widening the gap between mouths to be fed and food availability, ultimately resulting in larger imports than exports. Given that the continent has nearly 25% of cultivable and 60% of uncultivated land of the world but contributes only 10% to total production, clearly indicates towards huge unexplored growth potential of the continent.
Africa in 21st century is still facing the challenge of food insecurity and the situation is aggravated by effects of climate change and land degradation. Moreover, small farm size and lack of trained manpower restricts the pace of growth of agriculture. Also, increasing urbanization, low productivity, inadequate technology and lower investments pose hindrance to agricultural development. Africa, is yet to realize its full potential and all these challenges open new avenues to strengthen agriculture as main pillar of African economy.
Leveraging upon the vast bio and climatic diversity and strengthening the institutions for research, education, extension, financing, marketing etc. and developing the local industry in partnership for agri-inputs and animal health products, Africa can increase productivity, and achieve food self –sufficiency in a decade. Agriculture sector can also be developed on commercial lines with more agribusinesses to create substantial opportunities for jobs and entrepreneurships.
India as well as United States of America have historically been involved in African continent with different countries. India has also got large population in Eastern coast, involved in trading, farming and various other businesses. Both the countries have also huge commitments for Africa and have in recent years increased their funding through flagship programs; India under South - South Cooperation and US under Feed the Future Program. This (USIAP) will mobilse Indian and US expertise and resources to translate their commitments into action to bring about food and nutritional security in Africa through transformation of the agriculture sector.
Lots of commonalities can be observed in Indian and African agriculture from diverse climate to small size of holdings. These similar characteristics and present state of African agriculture bears a resemblance to the Indian agriculture sector thirty years back. Indian agriculture has evolved since then and has established itself in global market. Hence, there exists significant scope for African agricultural sector to benefit from learnings, experiences and success stories as well as diverse models from Indian agriculture and agribusiness sector.
Given strong position of US agro industries, role of USAID and the economic cooperation with various countries and being highly advanced in agriculture with establishes institutions for research, extension, finance, marketing and well developed technologies, financial and technological expertise from US to African agriculture sector will provide great boost to the sector and help it achieve the long term goals of development and SDGs.
This USIAP Platform envisages to strengthen and support development by providing all the available expertise to African countries and enhance agricultural growth for achieving food and nutritional security and inclusive development of African economy.