Nigeria, SSA Needs $1.3trn to Meet Food Consumption Demands by 2050
Irish Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Conveney has predicted that Nigeria and the rest of sub-Saharan Africa need 1.2 trillion Euros or $1.3 trillion to meet the consumption demands of their growing population by 2050.
To this end, he said Nigeria and the rest of Africa must take agriculture seriously to avoid massive conflict across the continent because of unemployment and food scarcity.
He spoke in Lagos when he led a delegation of Irish businessmen on a trade mission to Nigeria.
The Irish minister, who said he had a fruitful meeting with his counterparts in Nigeria, emphasised that the interface and discussions would be mutually rewarding and would strengthen bilateral relations between both countries.
Upbeat, Conveney, who was in the company of Ambassador of Ireland to Nigeria, Seán Hoy and Chief Executive, Enterprise Ireland, Julie Sinnamon, said this was probably one of the largest trade missions from Ireland to have ever visited Nigeria.
On how much Nigeria can generate from agriculture, he said, Nigeria has enormous potential and if well harnessed, can make the agriculture industry the major foreign exchange earner for the country.
According to him, “You are talking of a country that as some point in the next 30 years will have a population of over 400 million people. Ireland with a population of just five million is producing food for over 30 million people and our agriculture industry has a turnover of $28 billion a year. If you look at that figure you will begin to realise that agriculture and food technology, innovation can actually give a country more revenue than crude oil. Oil is about cash, selling and getting money, it does not employ a lot of people, whereas the food industry can actually deliver much more jobs in every village, town in a country.”
He added: “The manufacturing, production system in terms of value, packaging, linking food production to food technology is a massive industry. It is not just about producing food and selling it. It will of course take time to develop that kind of capacity, but Nigeria has the natural resources that is the envy of many producing countries of the world including Europe in terms of the water, soil and climate. The opportunity for agriculture and food sector is huge.
“For sub Saharan Africa as a whole today, the agricultural output is about 300 billion Euros in value, by 2050, the population of sub Saharan Africa would have doubled, by that point in order to meet consumption demand, they will need the agricultural output to be 1.2 trillion Euros ($1.3 trillion) in value by today’s prices terms. On the face of it, it is impossible, but with partnership, technology, new ways of doing things and with real ambition it is possible and it would be Nigeria that will lead the initiative. That is a very exiting change and a business opportunity, Ireland will be there to help but ultimately it will be Nigeria’s project.”