African governments need to develop the continent's infrastructure, including roads and storage facilities, as well as ensure access to credit and insurance to help support the agriculture sector, especially the smallholder farmers, experts have said.
They said the sector is also plagued by limited access to markets, poor technology, high loan rates and lack of funds to improve output.
"Lending to farmers at an interest rate of 18 per cent or 20 per cent is like lending to cocaine dealers.
"There is no way farmers can make any profits at that rate of interest unless they are producing cocaine," Olusegun Obasanjo, the former Nigerian president said at the just-ended 49th
Obasanjo, also a member of the
He pointed out that farmers can only make profits from agriculture if banks lower lending rates to about 7 per cent. He, however, noted that agriculture should not been taken just as a development project, but as a business.
The majority of the people in
Donald Kaberuka, the AfDB president, emphasised the need for increasing agriculture productivity, noting that it will ensure sustainable development and reduce poverty.
"Improving agriculture productivity is not rocket science. People know what to do; the question we must ask is why they are not doing it," he said.
Claire Akamanzi, the
According to experts, there has been a growing concern over the past few decades about sub-Saharan Africa's agriculture sector because of low productivity, as well as poor access to market and low prices.
"These challenges affect the financial welfare and food security of smallholder farmers, resulting into poor nutrition levels and wide spread poverty," they said.
Sector players argued that weak input and produce marketing systems and services as well as limited access to affordable credit could greatly affect growthe of the continent, if they are not addressed.
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