Investing in potential: Africa’s people and land feeding the world

Global food demand is experiencing accelerated increase with projected deficits requiring a sustained growth of at least 70% if the world is to feed its growing population by 2050. Amidst this accelerated growth in food demand and population growth, a declining trend is observed in natural resource envelop. This has cast Africa as a frontier for meeting the future food needs for both her people and the world, this, owing to the expanse and potential of arable land unutilised and her under utilised population potential. The continent has thus become a new frontier for international competition in the 21st Century. Evidence available indicates that global production is declining but the overall production is not increasing volumetrically. Africa’s agriculture has continued to lag behind in terms of production and productivity gains owing to series of constraints. Despite this pattern, some successes have been registered in the continent, production in some crops such as rice has seen some yield increases, seed varieties have been released, agribusiness sector and private sector are becoming vibrant and active in delivery of agricultural innovations, and governments are investing in infrastructure developments. Taking lessons from the past interventions, it was observed that the Green Revolution was primarily successful because of a combination of strategic investments in crop research, infrastructure, market development, credit provision systems to supply the right input packages, price stabilization mechanisms and appropriate policy support were provided to farmers in Asia. Africa especially sub-Saharan Africa ought to re-examine such interventions, take worthwhile lessons and reformulate her context specific ‘green revolution’ within the current circumstances. Further, investments in rural development and human capital development are critical in driving the ability of Africa’s farmers to translate their opportunities and potential into tangible agricultural products that will feed the continent and the world.
Date of publication: 
Region Focus: 
Africa Wide
RUFORUM Working document series
Agris Subject Categories: 
Licence conditions: 
Open Access
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Web resource