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African trade deficits in staple food products increase

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African trade deficits in staple food products such as the main cereals, the sugar value chain and the vegetable oil value chains increased by 400 per cent from $10 billion in 2003 to $40 billion in 2019.

However, there are many agricultural products like cocoa, coffee, tea, sesame seeds, cotton and tomatoes for which the African trade balance is positive.

This is according to a senior research fellow at the Washington-based, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Antoine Bouet.

He said this in a comment on the 2020 African Agricultural Trade Monitor released in Kigali, Rwanda.

Mr Bouet, who is a co-author of the report, talked about some of the findings in the face of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“African trade data is poor and incomplete. This has particular risks in 2020 since the continent lacks the systematic collections of data to analyse the impact of covid-19 on Agricultural trade in Africa.”

“Limited data showing restricted mobility the recent decrease in exports as well as border closures, suggest the pandemic and reactive policies adopted by African governments, may further limit agricultural trade in Africa in 2020.”

“The report recommends an ambitious implementation of the African continental free trade area starting early 2021 with removal of import duties, simplification of customs procedures and substantial eradication of non-tariff measures such as sanitary and phytosanitary measures and other technical barriers to trade.”

Story filed by Joyce Anim-Ayeko.

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