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June 06, 2008

Africa spends $19 billion on food imports annually

Africa currently spends an estimate 19 billion U.S. dollars annually on commercial food imports, the Alliance for Commodity Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa ( ACTESA) has revealed.
The amount spent on food imports demonstrates the immense opportunity for trade in agricultural commodities in the region, said ACTESA spokesman James Nyoro.

Nyoro also said that among the total 808 billion U.S. dollars in maize bought and sold in Eastern and Southern Africa in recent years, only approximately 30 million dollars are traded among members. The ACTESA was, therefore, created as an initiative aimed at enhancing trade in staple foods like maize, beans, bananas and cassava, Nyoro added.

He urged African countries to help small and medium-scale farmers in the region to increase their food production as they contributed about 80 percent of agricultural food production.

Xinhua News Agency

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