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為什麼非洲的糧食供應需要採取區域性方法
 

中興大學 生物系統工程研究室 陳加忠

 
 

COVID-19大流行擾亂國際供應鏈,引發了關於去全球化的必要性的大量辯論。標準銀行集團個人和商業銀行業務部泛非洲農業綜合業務負責人(head of Agri Business Pan Africa within the Personal and Business Banking division at Standard Bank Grou) .Louis van Ravestey寫道,這為非洲提供了一個探索非洲綜合農業區域化的理想機會。

隨著COVID-19疫情爆發後,世界各地的供應鏈被破壞,對某些類型食品的需求減少,關於非洲能否確保其人民糧食安全的能力的疑問開始出現。雖然非洲大陸的部分地區由於乾旱,洪水和蝗蟲群而面臨著近期的糧食生產挑戰,但是由於非洲當地農民和世界其他地區的進口,非洲仍然有足夠的主食來養活其大部分公民。

但是,COVID-19的爆發凸顯了非洲大陸需要集中力量,使其自給自足地生產某些糧食,例如小麥,玉米,大米和蛋白質,以及需要對於原物料加工以增加價值。

從全球到區域性

更正式或有效的價值鏈代表著非洲國家將繼續進口某些糧食,但是由於當前的全球前景,非洲有機會重新調整重點,並從競爭優勢中受益於大陸上存在的土地,例如耕地,負擔得起的勞動力,以及在某些地區降雨良好。

農業仍然是最有可能推動非洲,特別是撒哈拉以南非洲地區。此農業增長的部門僱用了非洲大陸70%的人口,約佔GDP23%。許多人會同意,非洲尚未實現其在農業上的全部潛力。COVID-19的出現強調了,必須探索在該領域使其變得自給自足的方法。做到這一點的方法之一就是進行非洲內部的農業綜合貿易。由於全球範圍內的封鎖和供應瓶頸,貿易路線暫時中斷,COVID-19大流行引發了關於去全球化的討論。

農業和糧食生產是必不可少的服務,但是無法擺脫經濟關閉和全球供應鏈的破壞後果。但是如果能夠以不同的方式處理這些問題,則有機會開始討論非洲農業綜合企業的區域化。

自力更生

目前的現實情況是,許多非洲國家都過度依賴在從東方或西方進口糧食來滿足自己需求,實際上,非洲國家的三分之二是糧食淨進口國。非洲內部貿易可以減少這種依賴,並提供更多的就業機會。

如果我們能夠在國家之間有效地轉移作物,建立夥伴關係並促成有效的貿易協議,非洲將在自力更生的道路上邁出重要的一步。想像一下,能夠在奈及利亞(山藥和木薯的最大生產國)和肯亞之間,或在南非和烏干達(世界上最大的茶和咖啡生產國之一)之間無縫地進行作物販售。 這種方式,再加上根據《非洲大陸自由貿易協定》發展,便利跨境貿易的基礎設施的措施,可能會在未來幾年內促進非洲內部貿易的指數增長。

但是,必須記住,出口形式的全球貿易仍然至關重要。出口為非洲國家提供外匯,以投資於實現自給自足所需的基礎設施。基礎設施還將幫助各國將原始作物轉化為最終食品,以供當地消費以及出口市場使用。

數位技術的作用

技術在非洲農業部門中作用日益重要。根據非洲開發銀行(African Development Bank)的數據,非洲大陸目前有350多家農業技術公司正在營運,COVID-19大流行加快了農業數位化的應用。在非洲,小農生產的糧食佔很大比例,其中大多數是自給自足的農民。這些農民中幾乎每個人都擁有一部手機,並可以成為銷售給製粉和加工公司與出口商的外包商(本質上是合同種植者),從而有可能為農業綜合價值鏈做出貢獻。

下一步是引入整個行業的數位平台。通過利用網絡的力量,平台有可能將整個食品價值鏈整合在一起,以確保投入和生產的便捷流動。同時無縫地實現付款和收款。它還可以使數據民主化,並允許人們獲得知識。由於小農生產的複雜性以及缺乏基礎設施和市場,撒哈拉以南非洲是該技術的理想地區。標準銀行的一站式概念驗證平台 (Standard Bank’s One-Farm proof-of-concept platform) 就是一個的例子。該計劃為農業價值鏈中的所有參與者整合了數位化解決方案網絡。

為了發展農業綜合企業,價值鏈中的所有角色參與者都必須採用能夠提高農作物產量,降低成本,提高效率並使其更接近最終消費者的技術。

現在是時候了,各國政府和監管機構正在評估COVID-19帶來的全球變化,並且在糧食安全方面,看到了從純粹依賴全球化到去全球化的轉變。COVID-19還對於許多國家過分依賴糧食進口與在和大流行期間的面對挑戰發出了嚴厲的啟示。

所有這些因素都表明非洲需要重新構想農業綜合企業及其帶來的機會。隨著我們繼續控制一流行病,非洲大陸有機會加強農業綜合企業的區域關係,並最終走上實現糧食供應自給自足的道路。

電子郵件Louis van Ravesteyn 郵箱louis.vanravesteyn@standardbank.co.za 

 

〔評論〕

如果不能解決農業生產根本問題,上述論述還是白說一次。

 

Why Africa’s food supply needs a regional approach

December 8, 2020 at 10:52 am

By disrupting international supply chains, the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered much debate about the need for deglobalisation. This presents an ideal opportunity for Africa to explore the regionalisation of agribusiness on the continent, writes Louis van Ravesteyn, head of Agri Business Pan Africa within the Personal and Business Banking division at Standard Bank Group.

As supply chains around the world are disrupted and the demand for certain types of food decreases in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, questions have begun to emerge about Africa’s capacity to ensure food security for its citizens.

While parts of the continent have faced recent food production challenges due to droughts, floods and locust swarms, Africa continues to have enough staple food to feed the majority of its citizens, thanks to local farmers and imports from other parts of the world.

The outbreak of COVID-19, however, has highlighted the need for the continent to concentrate its efforts on becoming self-sufficient in the production of certain food, such as wheat, maize, rice and proteins, as well as value-addition and the processing of raw materials.

From global to regional
More formalised or efficient value chains in other parts of the world mean that countries in Africa will continue to import certain food, but thanks to the current global outlook, there is an opportunity for Africa to refocus and benefit from the competitive advantages that exist on the continent, such as arable land, affordable labour, and, in some regions, good rainfall.

Agriculture remains the sector with the most potential to drive growth in Africa, especially sub-Saharan Africa. The sector employs 70% of the continent’s population and contributes about 23% to GDP.

Many would agree that Africa has not realised its full potential in agriculture and that the advent of COVID-19 has emphasised the need to explore ways to become self-sufficient in this area.

One of the ways of doing this is to embrace intra-African agribusiness trade. The COVID- 19 pandemic has ignited conversations about deglobalisation as trade routes were temporarily cut off due to lockdowns and supply bottlenecks around the world.

Agriculture and food production are essential services, but have not escaped the consequences of shutting down economies and disruptions to global supply chains. Yet these disruptions, when approached differently, present an opportunity to start discussions about the regionalisation of agribusiness in Africa.

Towards self-reliance
The current reality is that many countries in Africa are over-reliant on imports from the East or West to meet their food needs; in fact, two-thirds of African countries are net importers of food. Intra-African trade can reduce this reliance and offer more employment opportunities.

If we could move crops efficiently between countries, build partnerships, and broker effective trade deals, Africa would take a significant step on the road to self-reliance.

Imagine being able to move crops seamlessly between Nigeria, the largest producer of yams and cassavas, and Kenya, or between South Africa and Uganda, one of the biggest tea and coffee producers in the world.

This type of approach, coupled with moves to develop infrastructure that facilitates cross-border trade under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, could create exponential growth in intra-African trade over the next few years.

It is important to remember, however, that global trade in the form of exports remains critical. Exports provide African countries with foreign exchange to invest in the infrastructure needed to become self-sufficient. Infrastructure will also help countries convert raw crops into final food products for local consumption as well as the export market.

The role of digital technology
The growing role of technology in Africa’s agriculture sector cannot be ignored. According to the African Development Bank, more than 350 agritech companies currently operate on the continent, and the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digital adoption in farming.

In Africa, a large proportion of food is produced by smallholders, the majority of whom are subsistence farmers. Nearly every one of these farmers owns a mobile phone and can potentially contribute to the agribusiness value chain by becoming an outgrower (essentially a contract grower) who sells to the milling and processing companies, as well as to exporters.

The next step is the introduction of a sector-wide digital platform. By using the power of a network, a platform has the potential to bring the entire food value chain together to ensure the easy flow of inputs and produce, while seamlessly enabling payments and collections. It can also democratise data, and allow people to gain access to knowledge.

Sub-Saharan Africa is the ideal region for this technology due to the complexities of smallholder production and the lack of infrastructure and markets. Standard Bank’s One-Farm proof-of-concept platform is an example of an intitiative to bring together a network of digitised solutions for all players in the agricultural value chain.

For agribusiness to grow, all role players in the value chain must embrace technologies that improve crop yields, lower costs, create efficiencies and bring them closer to the end consumer.

The time is now
Governments and regulators are taking stock of global shifts brought about by COVID-19, and in respect of food security, are seeing a shift from pure reliance on globalisation towards deglobalisation.

COVID-19 has also cast a harsh light on many countries’ over-reliance on food imports and the challenges during the pandemic.

All of these factors point to Africa’s need to reimagine agribusiness and the opportunities it presents. As we continue to navigate the pandemic, the continent has been presented with an opportunity to strengthen regional relations in agribusiness and finally start down the road to self-sufficiency in food supply.

The views expressed in our weekly opinion piece do not necessarily reflect those of Farmer’s Weekly.

Email Louis van Ravesteyn at louis.vanravesteyn@standardbank.co.za.