The productivity of dairy cows is nearly three times higher in Kenya than elsewhere in Sub-Saharan Africa, a new report reveals.

Indeed, with better policies and Government support, the sector can help grow African agribusiness to a trillion-dollar food market by 2030.

According to a new World Bank report titled Growing Africa: Unlocking the Potential of Agribusiness, the growth will be attained if farmers access more capital, electricity, better technology and irrigated land to grow high-value nutritious foods.

Africa’s current food systems are valued at US$313 billion a year from agriculture, but the continent’s potential can be conceived from the fact that it holds almost half of the world’s uncultivated land suited for growing food crops.

Less resource

The continent also uses less than 2 per cent of its renewable water sources, compared to a world average of 5 per cent, while its farms yield for crops such as maize is often less than half of the potential.

The report says that factors such as population growth, rising incomes and urbanisation have kept food prices high.  On the supply side, slowing yield growth of major food crops, less investment in research spending, land degradation and water scarcity issues mean that those prices will remain high for the foreseeable future.

With its vast resources, the report says the above present an opportunity for Africa to expanding its food and agricultural exports.

There are potential export markets for rice, maize, soybeans, sugar, palm oil, biofuel and feedstock.

“The time has come for making African agriculture and agribusiness a catalyst for ending poverty,” says Makhtar Diop, World Bank Vice President for Africa Region.

Kenya is the largest producer in the region and also the only country to be a net exporter of dairy products, largely to other countries of the region. Kenya is also the largest consumer of milk, with each Kenyan on average consuming about 145 litres every year, more than six times that in other East African countries.