Kebbi State governor, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu has said that African agricultural sector is currently suffering a serious setback due to the way food which could be produced locally were imported from industrialised world.
Bagudu who disclosed this yesterday in Abuja at the 6th African Association of Agricultural Economists (AAAE) Triennial Conference, said the African farmers have been unable to compete favourably with their counterparts in the industrialised world, due to the way the industrialised world protect their farmers by limiting food importation, and providing subsidies.
According to him, “Nigerian agriculture is on the right track, but African agriculture generally is suffering the distortions coming from largely the industrialised world because the industrialised world distort agricultural production.
“There are many commodities we should be exporting to the industrialised world or more, but because of the way they protect their market, they subsidize their farmers that we are unable to compete with them”, the governor said.
Speaking, the president of AAAE, Dr Edward Mabaya said the conference brings together leaders in academia, private sector and from industry to address the key challenges facing the African continent in the areas of food security and nutrition security.
He said that experts would present series of papers over the next three days which would discuss key issues and give recommendations which according to him would influence government policies and donor investment on agricultural development.
“Am glad to be here in the occasion of the 6th Association of African Agricultural Economists, this is a Conference that we hold every three years where we bring together leaders in academia, from private sector and from industry to address the key challenges facing the African continent in the areas of food security and nutrition security.
“Over the next three days we are going to get papers from world leaders and experts in this area discussing these issues and giving pertinent recommendations that will influence government policy, donor investment and private sector investment on agricultural development and issues on the continent.
“The theme of this year’s conference is ‘Africa rising to meet new challenges’. Yes, Africa has got a lot of challenges some of which are from the past, these include low agricultural productivity, gender and equity issues, but we also have new emerging issues that are coming up, these include climate change, digital agriculture.
“We believe that as a profession, we have to remain current by addressing these new emerging challenges that is facing the profession, while also being cognizant of all the challenges that we are still facing in agriculture development across the continent.
I believe that the continent of Africa cannot develop itself unless we can develop the agricultural sector first”, Dr Mabaya noted.
While speaking with journalists, the programme coordinator of Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) Dr Chrysantus Akem said why they decided to participate in the conference was because the Agricultural Economists do more of theoretical application, while TAAT do more of the practical.