What More Asian Agribusiness Firms In Africa Means For US Farmers

What More Asian Agribusiness Firms In Africa Means For US Farmers

Over the last decade more and more Asian agricultural companies, lead by China and India, have invested in African countries to help feed a  growing number of the middle class back home.

On the other hand, American companies, which are the biggest suppliers of food items to Asian countries have invested  very little in Africa, a continent whose economy Vincent Amanor-Boadu, a agribusiness economics and management professor at Kansas State University, say is very dichotomized.

Amanor-Boadu say that US farmers stand to lose their largest export market in the long term if the world  super-power does not change its policy towards Africa and engage Africans on a business front rather than a moral one.

“Think about it this way, 20 years ago the location was Asia. Today what is happening is that Asia is in Africa buying land, producing, so that they can be food self sufficient. So here is our (US) customer that we’ve built a lot of investment in going out and building into production. What does that mean for us?,” Amanor-Boadu told the Market Journal in an interview.

“I’m travelling around Africa and I’m seeing the Chinese playing in all aspect of Africans lives. They are building roads, they are building houses, they are investing in businesses and I can’t find any American company doing that.

“When I look at that I project forward 20 years, the same way we had the whole engagement with China which froze out other players who had not figured out how to do it, and that’s the same thing that I see here where now the American public policy engagement with Africa is one of trying to tell Africans how to live like us and the Chinese are coming in and are saying we want to do business.

“So from a long term engagement perspective, putting it into perspective that the middle class is growing and they need products, I think what we need is to look for opportunities to create markets for our food products which generally used our farm products and that chain will create opportunity for our farmers here.”