More than 200 million people in Africa are malnourished and the continent requires $620 billion to feed its people in the next 40 years, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi said yesterday.
The number represents 26 percent of the entire population of the continent. Annually, Africa requires $6.5 billion to develop the sector. Statistics reveal that food import to Africa is about $15 to $20 billion per annum.
"These huge financial resources that are being expended can be internalised to develop Africa's agriculture", Sanusi said at a conference on the Development of Agribusiness and Agro-industries in Africa holding in Abuja.
Agriculture is the predominant economic activities of low developing economies, especially Sub-saharan Africa. Over 70 percent of the people in Africa depend on agriculture for survival and well beings. It contributes about 20 to 50 percent to the continent's GDP.
Investment in agriculture in the continent has declined over the years and is still declining. The share of the official development assistance to the sector in Africa dropped from $1.45 billion in 1998 to $713 million in 2002.
At the end of 2008, only 11 African countries had reached the six percent annual agriculture growth target in the official commitments. According to the global food insecurity statistic, about 10 million people die annually of hunger related diseases. Half of these are children who die of malnutrition.
The proportion of those living below the poverty line of $1 a day increased from 47.6 percent in 1985 to 59 percent in 2007. While other jurisdictions like Asia and Latin America have recorded a sharp drop in the number of hungry people due to growth in food productions, about 850 million people were estimated to have food insecurity in 2005.
Investment in agriculture provides the opportunities to address extreme poverty, governor Sanusi said. He said agriculture has not achieve the desired result and this has ensure that a large number of people in Africa have limited access to food, clothing and shelter. "A total budget of $251 billion needed for the period of 2002 to 2015 to successfully implement the agricultural develop is far from been met", the CBN boss said.