Africa is now preparing to take its place on the global stage of poultry production, according to a new report from Rabobank.

Poultry markets have been evolving over many years from national businesses to regional ones and now increasingly global, according to the organization’s senior analyst, Nan-Dirk Mulder. Buoyed up by a forecast 60 percent increase in demand over the next two decades, he considers that this trend will continue.

Europe, the Americas and Asia have been the focus of most of the investment so far, but Mulder thinks that it is now in Africa where the best opportunities exist for those with the financial resources.

As in other regions, it is growth in the middle class and urbanization that are driving the gradual modernization of the poultry sector in Africa. As the population becomes able to afford better diets including animal proteins, they are turning to poultry meat and eggs.

Relatively short payback times make poultry meat and eggs attractive enterprises for local farmers, and both start-up and expansion are relatively easy to achieve.

Also important in Mulder’s view is the expansion of supermarket chains and quick service restaurants across the continent as these attract new investment.

Call for more investment in R&D for African agriculture

For African farming to become more efficient and competitive, there needs to be more investment in science and technology to help in its transformation from rural subsistence to wealth creation, according to the African Development Bank (AfDB).

“There cannot be a secure Africa unless we first and foremost revive the rural economies,” the AfDB’s President, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina said at a recent meeting in Rwanda. “We must turn these areas into zones of economic prosperity. And for that to happen, we must transform the main source of livelihoods – agriculture – into a wealth-creating sector.”

He proposed that better funding of R&D would help increase production, improve food security, reduce foreign exchange spending on imports and generally improve African economies.

Food and agricultural markets in Africa are forecast to grow to US$1 trillion by 2030, he said.

“The question for Africa is this: will Africa tap into this huge market by investing now in modernizing its agricultural sector or will it simply become a net food importing region,” added Adesina. “The answer to this must be to modernize the agricultural system.”