AFRICA: Not spending enough on food

Published on IRINnews, by , June 22, 2010.

“Africa is now facing the same type of long-term food deficit problem that India faced in the early 1960s”, says a paper by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), a US-based think-tank.

In the early 1960s India faced a major food crisis.

African countries are not spending enough on agriculture and the overall productivity of the continent has dropped since the mid-1980s, said the paper which looked at trends in public spending on agriculture in Africa. 

“Since the 1960s, Africa has lost ground in the global marketplace. Its share of total world agricultural exports fell from 6 percent in the 1970s to 2 percent in 2007,” said the paper entitled, Public Spending for Agriculture in Africa: Trends and Composition (find link on IRINnews) … //

… “With the exception of Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe, African countries have spent less than 10 percent of their agricultural GDPs on agriculture in recent decades.”

Africa spends 5-7 percent as a share of agricultural GDP on food production, whereas Asia spent 8-10 percent. But the range in spending in Africa is quite considerable. “For example, Botswana had the highest percentage in 2005 at 60 percent, while Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana spent less than 2 percent in the same year.”

Meanwhile, donor funding for agriculture in Africa has dropped dramatically – from 15 percent in the 1980s to 4 percent in 2006- but the amount countries allocate from aid to food production also varies quite considerably. In 2007 Botswana and Nigeria spent less than 1 percent of all aid received on agriculture. However, Burkina Faso in 2006 spent 8 percent of its total aid on agriculture.

How countries are spending. (full text).

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