Africa Food Systems Forum (AGRF) released its 2023 status report in September, “Empowering Africa Food Systems for the Future.” It provides “a comprehensive outlook into the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead” for creating sustainable food systems on the continent. The report cites youth empowerment and advances in technology and infrastructure as key components in overcoming significant challenges to the continent’s food security.
According to the AGRF report, “Africa is at a critical juncture” in providing food security for its people with its youth population projected to reach 200 million by 2030.
More than 20% percent of Africa’s population (about 257 million people) is undernourished (FAO, 2022).
More than 20 million people and at least 10 million children “faced severe food shortages in Africa due to crop failure and four consecutive dry seasons” (UNICEF, 2022)
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) predicts annual food imports will increase from $15 billion in 2018 to $110 billion by 2025.
Fertilizer prices have increased by about 78% compared with the average prices in 2021 (Hebebrand & Glauber, 2023).
According to the AGRF report, “Poor infrastructure shaves up to 2% off Africa’s average per capita growth rates.” By adopting “appropriate technology, it is estimated that an additional 96 million hectares in sub-Saharan Africa can be irrigated by smallholders.” This could benefit nearly 369 million people.
The report blames “dominance of starchy staples, alongside lower animal-sourced foods and fruits and vegetable supply” for deficiencies in the continent’s consumption of micronutrients (vitamin A, iron, zinc, folate, B vitamins, and calcium).