An international food policy expert on Thursday urged African countries to increase competitiveness in agribusinesses in a bid to sustain food security and increasing agricultural productivity.

Suresh Babu, Head of Capacity Strengthening at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), said countries have a very high potential to transform their agricultural sector by increasing the competitiveness of their agribusiness.

“Countries should identify successful models of Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) and business to business alliances to raise value chain competitiveness and scale,” Babu said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

A competitive agribusiness sector is one characterized by efficient land markets, efficient management of agriculture risks, technology adoption and innovation, sustainable management of natural resources, efficient institutions, effective infrastructure, conducive economic environment, investment in health and education and wide market access.

Babu said a study conducted by IFPRI indicated that countries should take initiative to encourage entrepreneurship, access to capital and building stronger market linkages.

He noted that agribusiness competitiveness has not received adequate attention so far as countries have been struggling to improve agricultural productivity.

“With the application of strategic investments, countries are capable of unlocking potential for agribusiness growth in African nations with low agribusiness competitiveness, food security and agricultural productivity,” he added.

He revealed that Kenya and Rwanda ranked high on the agribusiness competitiveness and agricultural productivity scales, but low on food security.

“This study highlights how policies in these countries have failed to utilize gains from trade to deliver food security to their populations,” he added.

He however said that despite tremendous progress in improving food security in the two African nations, both need stronger policy interventions to improve the allocation of resources and improve general welfare.

The expert told African nations to draw lessons from China, which created scores of research and design institutes and universities focusing on agricultural innovation.

The study ranked Guinea, Niger, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Nigeria, Togo low on food security and agribusiness competitiveness, while South Africa ranks high on both parameters.

It states that Botswana, Tunisia, Ghana, Uganda and Algeria, which ranks medium on food security and agribusiness competitiveness, hold immense potential to improve competitiveness.

“These countries can transform agriculture sector by increasing mechanization and commercialization, and

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh

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