Saturday, 16 July 2016

Why “I” must do agric - An African youth


I am aware the importance of agriculture is well known as well as its benefits, so just to state but a few:
Agriculture is the world's largest industry. It employs more than one billion people and generates over US$1.3 trillion dollars’ worth of food annually.
Source of Livelihood: 70% of the people in the world directly rely on agriculture as a means of living.
Source of Raw Material: The main source of raw materials to major industries such as cotton, jute fabric, sugar and tobacco, edible and non-edible oils is agriculture. Processing of fruits as well as vegetables and rice husking also get their raw material mainly from agriculture.
Revenue & Foreign Exchange: Agriculture is the main source of national income for most developing countries, and most times export trade depends largely on agricultural sector. This demonstrates that agriculture products continue to be an important source of earning a country foreign exchange.
Food Security: A stable agricultural sector ensures a nation of food security. Food security prevents malnourishment that has traditionally been believed to be one of the major problems faced by most developing countries.
I believe you also knew:
10% of World’s gross domestic product  is generated from agriculture, and
As at 2009, over 1 billion people were employed in world agriculture, representing 1 in 3 of all workers
In sub-Saharan Africa over 60 percent of the entire workforce are involved in agriculture
7.OH, lest I forget: Thailand's richest man Dhanin Chearavanont, whose net worth is rated US$ 14.4 billion, has his main background in farming and agro-product whilst Andrey Verevskiy is, the youngest self-made Agricultural billionaire born on July 25, 1974-Ukraine and had net worth $ 1 Billion as per March, 2013, Forbes.
So I can say for a fact “So long as man cannot live without food”, as long as Man lives; agriculture must live as well, making it imperative to think of Agric same as we think of our lives.
But beyond what you knew, did you also know:
Agriculture is up to four times more effective than other sectors in reducing poverty. Increasingly, the world is counting on agriculture to produce more nutritious food and improve the livelihoods of a booming population, especially the poor.
Africa boasts of 60% of the world’s uncultivated arable land.
The current value of food markets on the African continent is estimated at $313bn and by 2030; the World Bank estimates that Africa’s agriculture sector could constitute a $1 trillion opportunity.
Before 2000, Sub Saharan Africa was a net exporter of food, but now the region has a food import bill of over US$35 billion per year and imports exceed exports by 30% with volatile global food markets making Africa more vulnerable.
“More than 200 million young people between the ages of 15 and 24 are jobless in Africa, and the figure is even higher when you speak of underemployment”. And yet “Agriculture remains the sector with the largest potential to help create wealth and lift millions out of poverty on the African continent if it is pursued vigorously.” Studies show that investing in agriculture pays. It could help lift 85 million people out of extreme poverty by 2024, provide jobs, and boost the continent’s economy.
Only 3.5 million hectares of the 240 million hectares suitable for wetland rice cultivation in Africa have been exploited and some African countries have most of their suitable lands uncultivated`, like Nigeria as at 2012 had over 85 million hectares of uncultivated arable land  and Ghana has 336,000ha total lands cultivated for oil palm out of 1 million hectors lands available, utilizing only 10% of the potential lands leaving 664,000ha uncultivated suitable lands; twice much as existing cultivation.
The World Bank estimates that meeting the World’s vegetable oil demand in 2020 would require 6.3 million hectares of oil palm plantation; but using soybean oil instead would require an additional 42 million hectares (an area about the size o

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