The African Organisation for Standardization (ARSO) has declared its commitment to revolutionize Africa’s agricultural sector, noting that all hands should be on deck to adopt new technologies to help the continent move away from reliance on food imports and secure food supplies through rapid sustainable increase in food production.
ARSO, in a statement signed its President, Dr. Joseph Odumodu explained that under ARSO THC 02, agriculture and food products, chaired by Tanzania, with membership and experts from across the continent, targets to help African countries revolutionise agriculture, by addressing issues of handling, packaging, labelling, storage and processing and intrinsically fulfill many of the broader requirements for producers to participate in global supply chains.
Odumodu, also stressed that programmes were under way to help Africa produce high-value products; codify sustainable agricultural practices in order to address sustainability issues required to tackle environmental degradation, soil infertility, soil erosion, declining yields, increased pests and diseases, loss of bio-diversity; among others.
ARSO pointed out that across sub-Saharan Africa, agriculture accounts for three-quarters of employment and one third of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), maintaining that for very poor households, agricultural development not only a defense against hunger but also acted as an income generation venture nearly four times more effectively than growth in any other sector.
“These circumstances help to explain why agricultural development is such a powerful tool for reducing poverty in Africa and eliciting economic development”, ARSO added.
The African standards body added that despite the persistently strong agricultural component of its external trade, sub-Saharan Africa’s presence in world agricultural markets has tended to lose significance since the early 1970, saying that trade potential in Africa was severely limited by low level of production capacity.