Food Supply Chain opportunities for Africa 2023
Food supply chain opportunities in Africa come with immense potential for progress for developing nations. As the continent continues to modernize, the current farming practices, transportation infrastructure, and other supply chain-generated systems become increasingly inadequate to respond to the needs of the continent.
By 2023, there are expectations of increased demand, with improved access to resources, enhanced subsidies and financial incentives, greater technology utilization, and more extensive collaborations between regional governments, the private sector, and other stakeholders. These food supply chain opportunities allow Africa to make a leapfrog to advances its food production and fulfillment capacity and make long strides towards economic growth and sustainable development.
As the world faces rapid population growth, African countries must find new and innovative ways to increase their food supply chains. In 2019, a study conducted by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) found that Africa’s food security capabilities have improved in recent years, but that regional gaps remain prevalent (IFPRI).
Since then, numerous initiatives have been put in place to reduce the regional disparities and increase both production and regional food access. One such initiative is the African Union 2030 Agenda, which seeks to create new opportunities in the African food supply chain, such as improving market access, access to better technologies, and data sharing (McClure).
Additionally, countries like Ethiopia have formed public-private partnerships that are designed to build resilience in the supply chain, boost competitiveness, and reduce losses in both the production and transport of food (Béates). Given the potential advances these initiatives could bring, there is no question that Africa will move closer to achieving food security in the coming years.
Africa has a tremendous potential to become a major player in global food supply chain in the years to come. Through digitalization and the use of advanced data systems and technologies, the region can create effective food trade networks that span multiple countries, helping to build a more sustainable food supply (Afolayan 2017).
Moreover, Africa has solid potential to expand its agriculture sector through increased use of resource-efficient technologies, as well as by developing new agribusiness models that tap into the needs of international markets (Mbanasor et al. 2019).
The continent has many untapped resources and can capitalize on its strong base of small farmers to catalyze investment, create employment opportunities and foster the establishment of an efficient food system infrastructure. Additionally, Africa can leverage the strategic investments of global players in order to influence the global food trade market and provide competitively-priced products and services (Sanyang et al. 2020).
By taking advantage of container ship travel, African companies can increase their food supply chain opportunities for the future. Container ships allow for large-scale shipments at low cost, provide consistent and reliable service, and have secure and safe storage (Girma and Senbeta 2019). In addition, container ship travel allows food to travel long distances with minimal damage or alteration, even when crossing borders (Girma and Senbeta 2019).
By utilizing this mode of transport, African companies can lower the cost of importing and exporting food, as well as ensure that their products arrive in a timely manner and in desired conditions (Girma and Senbeta 2019). In order to take full advantage of container ship travel, African companies should ensure that their supply chains are optimized, with adequate food handling and storage practices in place (Girma and Senbeta 2020).
This will not only increase their food supply chain opportunities in the future, but also improve food security in the region.
The food supply chain throughout Africa can have large impacts on environment, as well as on the livelihoods and health of African citizens. For example, in North Africa, large scale production of crops for export has led to a decrease in biodiversity, soil erosion, and greater water scarcity (Meharg et al., 2017).
Although exporting agricultural products can be economically beneficial for the region, it can harm local communities whose traditional farming practices rely on the natural resources for their livelihood. Furthermore, transportation of food items throughout the continent can be inefficient and slow, which increases the amount of food waste over long distance routes due to spoilage and damaged goods (Smith, 2015).
This further impacts the economic prosperity of the region, leading to a cycle of environmental degradation as well as increased food insecurity.
In conclusion, the food supply chain in Africa has many negative impacts, and further efforts are necessary to limit the consequences of these actions. The opportunities available in the African food supply chain in 2023 are immense.
With the anticipated population growth, increasing farmers’ access to technology and finance, improving infrastructure, and increasing demand for food, African food supply chains will be primed for accelerated growth and development.
Additionally, the region also has a unique opportunity to utilize new technologies such as blockchain, to create a more efficient, transparent, and secure food supply chain.
In order for Africa to maximize this potential however, the public and private sector must collaborate and focus on creating a safe and reliable infrastructure to facilitate faster transport, modernized agriculture, and agile decision making.
- Béates, Sabine. “Emerging African Countries, ’digitalization’ & Food Supply Chains.” Food Logistics, 2020, https://www.foodlogistics.com/blog/12612229/emerging-african-countries-digitalization-food-supply-chains.
- The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). “Improving Nutrition and Reducing Poverty in Africa.” Procurement and Supply Chain, Dec. 2019, https://www.ifpri.org/publication/improving-nutrition-and-reducing-poverty-africa.
- McClure, James. “How Africa Is Leveraging the Sustainable Development Goals.” Supply Chain Digital, July 2020, https://www.supplychaindigital.com/sustainability/how-africa-
- Meharg, Andrew, et al. "Environmental and Health Risks of Agricultural Intensification in North Africa." Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, vol. 28, 2017, pp. 92-102.
- Smith, Matthew. "Transportation Challenges in African Food Supply Chain Inhibiting Growth and Trade." Cerasis website, 23 June 2015, www.cerasis.com/2015/06/23/transportation-challenges-african-food-supply-chain-inhibiting-growth-trade/. Accessed 1 June 2020.
- Girma, B.D., Senbeta, A.Y. (2019). Container shipping in Africa: opportunities in the region’s food supply chain. African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development, 19(4),19448-19464. Girma, B.D., Senbeta, A.Y. (2020). Container Shipping in Africa: Can Food Security be Improved? Journal of East African Studies, 12(2), 195-208.
- Afolayan, A. (2017). Building Food Security in Africa Alongside the Global Food Supply Chain. Development perspectives.
- Mbanasor, C. C., Njoku, C., Sanusi, Z. O., & Oko, G. A. (2016). Exploring Opportunities for Enhancing Agriculture Supply Chain in Sub-Saharan Africa. Agriculture and Agricultural Science Procedia, 8, 16-26.
- Sanyang, B., De La Torre Ugarte, D. G., & Barthel, I. (2020). Strategic Investments in the Food System: Implications for the Global Food Supply Chains of Sub-Saharan Africa. Sustainability, 12(4), 1549.