The agricultural sector employs approximately half of Africa’s workforce and plays an important role in its economy and development.
Agriculture is a large sector in most Sub-Saharan countries, accounting on average for 25% of GDP. The size of this sector means that its performance has a significant impact on economic growth. Growth in agriculture also stimulates growth in other sectors.
Better productivity in agriculture is typically the first step towards wider structural economic transformation, because it allows economic resources to be reallocated from activities of low productivity to higher productivity.
There is consensus that growth in agriculture is associated with a reduction in poverty. Cross-country regression analyses have shown that growth in agriculture is on average 2 to 4 times more effective in reducing poverty than growth in other sectors.
Indirect effects of agricultural growth are also important.
Agricultural growth contributes to reducing poverty by increasing the incomes of farmers and by creating jobs for unskilled labour. Indirect effects of agricultural growth are also important. Farmers and farm employees often spend their increased income locally and on locally produced goods and services, and this contributes to growth and poverty reduction in rural non-farm economies.
Meeting the growing demand for food
Urbanisation is a key feature of Africa’s population growth. Around 56 percent of Africa's population is expected to reside in urban areas by 2050. The growing demand for food will thereby be strongest in cities. The rise of the middle class in urban areas will further impact on levels and patterns of food demand, and raise demand for higher value foods such as meat, dairy, and processed products.
The aim of the second Sustainable Development Goal set by the UN is to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.