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AFRICA / AGRICULTURE

A new World Bank report says Africa’s farmers can potentially grow enough food to feed the continent and avert future food crises if countries remove cross-border restrictions on the food trade within the region. According to the Bank, the continent would also generate an extra US $20 billion in yearly earnings. WORLD BANK
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STORY: AFRICA / AGRICULTURE
TRT: 2.37
SOURCE: WORLD BANK
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 18 OCTOBER 2012, WASHINGTON D.C. / FILE

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Shotlist

FILE – 16 MARCH 2011, KIGALI, RWANDA

1. Various shots, market woman food seller
2. Pan right, covered market

FILE – 5 SEPTEMBER 2012, BUBANZA, BURUNDI

3. Wide shot, man working in a rice paddy

FILE – 27 FEBRUARY 2012, ROAD BETWEEN ADDIS ABABA AND TIGRAY, ETHIOPIA

4. Close up, girl with red scarf

FILE – MAY 5 2011, NAIROBI, KENYA

5. Wide shot, aerial show of Nakumatt Supermarket
6. Wide shot, aerial Nakumatt Supermarket employee packs grain in aisle

FILE – JANUARY 1 2012, MAPUTO, MOZAMBIQUE

7. Wide shot, street sequence in downtown Maputo with people walking

18 OCTOBER 2012, WASHINGTON DC

8. SOUNDBITE (English) Marcelo Giugale, Director of Poverty Reduction and Economic Management for Africa, World Bank:
“Africa today does not produce all the food it needs. In fact the continent every year spends some twenty billion dollars to bring in the kind of cereals, wheat, rice and other staples that the people need to feed themselves within the continent. And the projection is that it is going to double by 2020, the demand is going to double by 2020.”

FILE – JULY 31 2012, WASHINGTON DC

9. Wide shot, World Bank Headquarters

18 OCTOBER 2012, WASHINGTON DC

10. SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH): Paul Brenton, World Bank Lead Economist for Africa and Principal Author of the Report
“At the moment, just five percent of Africa’s imports of food staples, of grains comes from African farmers themselves, the rest is coming from outside of Africa. Yet there is enormous potential for African farmers to satisfy the demand for food. Yields in Africa are much, much lower than the rest of the world, a third, a half of what farmers in other developing countries are achieving. And a very small part of the land that can be cultivated in Africa is cultivated for food. So there is enormous potential to increase output. To do that, African farmers need incentives to do that. Often the nearest market, the nearest large market for farmers is across a border, and constraints on trade, rules and regulations, are very much hampering farmers in getting their food across borders and limiting the incentives they have to invest in seed, to invest in fertilizers and to increase their output and productivity.”

FILE – JANUARY 10 2012, MAPUTO, MOZAMBIQUE

11. Various shots, Sasseka grain processing and packaging facility

18 OCTOBER 2012, WASHINGTON DC

12. SOUNDBITE (English) Paul Brenton, Trade Practice Leader for Africa and Report Author, World Bank:
“What we would like to see is a much more open dialogue about food and food trade policies in Africa. Often at the moment, the groups involved are very small, often decisions are made in government without including the relevant stakeholders so a key objective for this report really, is to encourage a much more open dialogue and to provide the inputs that are necessary to bring all the stakeholders to the table.”

FILE – JULY 31 2012, WASHINGTON DC

13. Tilt up, World Bank Headquarters

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Storyline

A new World Bank report released today (24 October) says Africa’s farmers can potentially grow enough food to feed the continent and avert future food crises if countries remove cross-border restrictions on the food trade within the region.

According to the Bank, the continent would also generate an extra twenty billion United States dollars in yearly earnings if African leaders can agree to dismantle trade barriers that blunt more regional dynamism.

With as many as 19 million people living with the threat of hunger and malnutrition in West Africa’s Sahel region, the Bank report urges African leaders to improve trade so that food can move more freely between countries and from fertile areas to those where communities are suffering food shortages. The World Bank expects demand for food in Africa to double by the year 2020 as people increasingly leave the countryside and move to the continent’s cities.

A competitive food market will help poor people most, the report notes. For example, poor people in the slums of Nairobi pay more for their maize, rice, and other staple food than wealthy people pay for the same products in local supermarkets. The report underlines the importance of food distribution networks which in many countries fail to benefit poor farmers and poor consumers.

SOUNDBITE (English) Marcelo Giugale, Director of Poverty Reduction and Economic Management for Africa, World Bank:
“Africa today does not produce all the food it needs. In fact the continent every year spends some twenty billion dollars to bring in the kind of cereals, wheat, rice and other staples that the people need to feed themselves within the continent. And the projection is that it is going to double by 2020, the demand is going to double by 2020.”

According to the report, rapid urbanization will challenge the ability of farmers to ship their cereals and other foods to consumers when the nearest trade market is just across a national border. Countries south of the Sahara, for example, could significantly boost their food trade over the next several years to manage the deadly impact of worsening drought, rising food prices, rapid population growth, and volatile weather patterns.

Transport cartels are still common across Africa, and the incentives to invest in modern trucks and logistics are weak. The World Bank report suggests that countries in West Africa in particular could halve their transport costs within 10 years if they adopted policy reforms that spurred more competition within the region.

Other obstacles to greater African trade in food staples include export and import bans, variable import tariffs and quotas, restrictive rules of origin, and price controls. Often devised with little public scrutiny, these policies are then poorly communicated to traders and officials. This process in turn promotes confusion at border crossings, limits greater regional trade, creates uncertain market conditions, and contributes to food price volatility.

With many African farmers effectively cut off from the high-yield seeds, and the affordable fertilizers and pesticides needed to expand their crop production, the continent has turned to foreign imports to meet its growing needs in staple foods.

SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH): Paul Brenton, World Bank Lead Economist for Africa and Principal Author of the Report
“At the moment, just five percent of Africa’s imports of food staples, of grains comes from African farmers themselves, the rest is coming from outside of Africa. Yet there is enormous potential for African farmers to satisfy the demand for food. Yields in Africa are much, much lower than the rest of the world, a third, a half of what farmers in other developing countries are achieving. And a very small part of the land that can be cultivated in Africa is cultivated for food. So there is enormous potential to increase output. To do that, African farmers need incentives to do that. Often the nearest market, the nearest large market for farmers is across a border, and constraints on trade, rules and regulations, are very much hampering farmers in getting their food across borders and limiting the incentives they have to invest in seed, to invest in fertilizers and to increase their output and productivity.”

The new report suggests that if the continent’s leaders can embrace more dynamic inter-regional trade, Africa’s farmers, the majority of whom are women, could potentially meet the continent’s rising demand and benefit from a major growth opportunity. It would also create more jobs in services such as distribution, while reducing poverty and cutting back on expensive food imports. Africa’s production of staple foods is worth at least US$50 billion a year.

SOUNDBITE (English) Paul Brenton, Trade Practice Leader for Africa and Report Author, World Bank:
“What we would like to see is a much more open dialogue about food and food trade policies in Africa. Often at the moment, the groups involved are very small, often decisions are made in government without including the relevant stakeholders so a key objective for this report really, is to encourage a much more open dialogue and to provide the inputs that are necessary to bring all the stakeholders to the table.”

The World Bank’s agriculture support for Africa has grown significantly over the past years. Since 2008, World Bank Group lending for agriculture and related sectors in sub-Saharan Africa total approximately US$6.7 billion.

The report entitled “Africa Can Help Feed Africa: Removing barriers to regional trade in food staples”, was released on the eve of an African Union (AU) ministerial summit in Addis Ababa on agriculture and trade.

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