It is quite interesting though unforgivable that some Oil-rich countries like Nigeria and Angola have huge FOOD import bills.
In order to redress the situation, Nigeria is on course in the implementation of her Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA).
In Angola, the government will soon roll out measures to boost agricultural production and at the same time curb its dependence on food imports. There will be new import duties on selected products including fruits, vegetables, eggs and drinks with effect from March.
Hopefully, the new levies will discourage imports and boost domestic industries to diversify from oil.
But the question is how did Angola, an agriculturally endowed nation with reputation for Coffee and Rubber production end up being a nation dependent on food imports?
Three decades of civil war left vast tracts of land littered with landmines robbed the country of its farming prowess. This is rather unfortunate.
In the first nine months of 2013, Angola spent over $3.6 billion on imported food and drinks alone, according to the trade ministry. The dependence on imported goods is one of the reasons why Angola’s capital Luanda is ranked among the most expensive cities in the world.
The impact of increase in import duties and levies is an increase in the cost of food to the general populace. This is what will happen in the short run.
The real solution is for the country to
1. Invest her oil wealth to develop and revamp the agricultural sector.
2. Develop local capacity to produce the local staple foods to meet the required demand by humans, livestock and industry
3. Establish Agro-processing industries along the Agric value chain
4. Emphasize the importance of agricultural development to the nation’s economy.
5. Invest in research and development for new high yielding, early maturing and disease resistant varieties of both staple and cash crops local to Angola
6. Concerted efforts should be made to rebuild infrastructure destroyed by three decades of war.
Angola is the second largest producer of oil in sub-Saharan Africa after Nigeria. Both countries should not be importing food at all. Rather, they more than qualify to be the food baskets of Africa if o Lu they got their acts together.
However, where there is a political and economic will, there is a way to food sufficiency and security.