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Transforming the Agriculture Industry

Peter Musila 11 months ago

The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted several global vulnerabilities, including the uncoordinated nature of the world’s pandemic response, its inability to support the poorest countries and their populations in managing the economic fallout, and of course, the weakness of existing health-care infrastructure.

Have leaders addressed these weaknesses adequately? Not forgetting other significant global challenges, ranging from climate change and rising inequality to technological disruption and global terrorism.

Agricultural production grew more rapidly in sub-Saharan Africa between 2000 and 2015 than in any other world region. That’s impressive and should be widely acknowledged. But what changed since then?

Do you know that agricultural growth has greatly contributed to economic diversification and non-farm jobs? Thanks to critical economic linkages between agriculture and the rest of the economy.

The rapid growth of non-farm employment makes it tempting to think that the non-farm sector is where economic dynamism is centered. But this view fails to understand how fundamental agricultural growth has been to the region’s economic diversification and development.

Agricultural growth, backed up by substantial research evidence, is encouraged in that it puts more money into the hands of millions of rural people, agricultural growth stimulates the demand for goods and services in rural economies and expands the growth of non-farm jobs and incomes.

The bottom line is that agricultural growth has driven much of the economic diversification and off-farm income growth experienced recently. 

Given the right focus by governments, policymakers can identify agricultural sectors, which, with the deployment of technology and new practices, can attract investment, spurring employment, economic growth, and tax revenues – thereby initiating a virtuous cycle of development. Investment and reform – both domestically and externally financed – can accelerate change.

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