The food import bill of African continent was $35billion in 2015, according to the African Development Bank (AfDB).
The figure was disclosed, yesterday, by the Director of Agriculture, AfDB, Dr Chiji Ojukwu, at the ENABLE Youth Programme in AfricaN Agriculture. Describing the figure as unsustainable, he called for urgent steps to address the situation.
He said it was worrisome that the continent has failed to tap from its huge youth population to change the trend.
Africa has the highest number of youth in the world. The youth constituted 40 percent of the continent’s working age and, regrettably, 60 percent of the unemployed in the continent.
For instance, in Nigeria, it was estimated that there would be 110 million youth entering the workforce in the next 10 years.
Ojukwu said the failure to tap from the agribusiness opportunity made the country poorer and malnourished.
He said AfDB has set up target to spend $12.5 billion in the next 10 years for African countries to provide, at least, 1.25 million agribusiness enterprises. He said the project has targeted to provide 10,000 employment for graduates for each country with 50 percent of them being women.
The Nigerian Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, said the greatest asset of the country was its youth population. He said the present administration would engage youth in agriculture and reduce unemployment in the country.
The minister, represented by the minister of state of agriculture, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, said “the future of Nigeria is agriculture.”