Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) Vice President for Policy and Partnerships Akin Adesina, was at IITA recently to talk about how agriculture could transform Nigeria from a food-deficit to a food-exporting country again.

“The answer to Nigeria’s development problems lies in using agriculture to transform the country into ‘cohesive production system’,” he said. “Agriculture has changed from a way of life to a business. Market intelligence is required to make agriculture work. Hence, national governments in Africa have to change their mind sets and think of agriculture as a business.”

Sub-Saharan Africa has a population of 781 million people, with 306 million or 39% living on less than US$1 a day. Of this number, 131 million live in Nigeria. Of the 131 million Nigerians, 101 million, equivalent to 77%, are poor. “Africa is not a basket case,” Adesina said. “With a distinctly African Green Revolution, we can turn the situation around. We can do this by building our competitive advantage in agriculture through research and infrastructure. Government support is crucial; political will is important. Africa cannot afford not to act.”

“A new, efficient, dynamic, and competitive agricultural sector will unlock hope for millions of children, and will provide a better, more secure future for everyone,” he concluded. Adesina was formerly a socioeconomist at IITA.

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