The question about whether Africa can feed itself is not about if, its rather about how , then when.
Africa can feed itself and the world
Producing adequate food to meet demand by 2050 is widely recognized as a major challenge for Africa. However, several studies maintain that it is possible for Africa to meet and exceed its projected food demand on existing agricultural land, by reducing the gap between its actual agricultural production and the production potential.
The following is a summary of the untapped agricultural potential that proves that Africa can feed itself:
- Africa has 60% of the potential arable land available in the world today.
- Agricultural productivity is
more than four times lower than the global average.
- Less than 4% of agricultural
land is irrigated.
- Over 60% of farm activities are done using human muscle, 20% animal power and 20% engine power. Mechanization is very low compared to the rest of the world.
- In Africa, 60% of the continent's population is under 24 years, but, the average age of farmers is 60 years old.
- As for the use of reasoned fertilizer application (right fertilizer at the right dose, for the right soil and at the right time), Africa it is ten times lower than the average of countries with high agricultural yields.
- The continent is home to more
than 20% of the world's forest area (the largest reservoir of carbon
- Africa is responsible for less than 4% of the global carbon dioxide emissions.
- Poor rural infrastructure (road
and electricity) which interferes with the smooth running of supply chains
in and out of the farm.
These are practical points, which, if acted upon, Africa’s agriculture can become competitive.
If we close the above gaps and seize the opportunities, the ball may change sides and Africa will be feeding the world.
NB: Let us remain hopeful because, even the Netherlands which is 14 times smaller than Kenya (41,825 Km2 Vs 580,365 Km2) ranks first in the European Union and second worldwide in term of value of agricultural exports, behind only the United States.
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