Africa must cut reliance on food imports, says Nigerian billionaire
(ANSA) – OAK ISLAND, Sep 9 – A Nigerian oil magnate has called on African countries to cut their reliance on imports of foodstuffs.
Osamu Toyoda, chairman of Standard Chartered bank and the managing director and chief executive board of the World Bank Group, said Africa must focus on getting more food from the natural environment.
The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have said global food prices are set to hit record levels around 2015, with the price of food expected to increase by between 10-20% by then.
Toyoda, who is the chairman of the board of Standard Chartered Africa, suggested African countries, which are already struggling with high poverty levels, should look towards diversification of their food production.
“We have to get more food from the natural environment, especially to the most underdeveloped countries. Those areas have a lot of land but their food production is very, very small. They can’t produce all their food from the natural environment,” Toyoda told reporters in Abuja on Wednesday.
He said that African countries have huge amounts of land that can be used for diversification of their agriculture to generate more cash flow.
The billionaire businessman said food production is a major factor in Africa’s ability to feed its population and the solutions for this are many.
“There are a lot of tools that we can use. But the one thing which is very important is the development of our agri-food production base,” he said.
Toyoda said the Bank is supporting African countries in diversifying their agriculture.
“That is why we are supporting them by providing capital to help make farmers more productive… with things like that I think the bank will do a lot.
“There is a lot that we can do by means of our bank if the private sector also comes along to do that. But that will only help if we