Over the next generation, growing trade in food staples appears poised to dwarf that in all other African agricultural markets. Currently, the market value of Africa’s food staples amounts to $50 billion per year, or nearly three-fourths of the value of all agricultural production (Table 1). Given growing urbanization and the highest rates of poverty in the world, Africa’s market demand for food staples will grow dramatically in coming decades. As a result, production of food staples -- for growing urban markets and food-deficit rural areas -- represents probably the largest growth opportunity available to African farmers. Facilitating expansion of these markets will, therefore, be critical for efforts at stimulating agricultural production growth, broad-based income expansion and poverty reduction.


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