As the world has placed increased emphasis on our environment, natural resources and climate there has also been increased recognition of the African continent’s enormous potential for agricultural development. At the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network’s Annual High-Level Policy Dialogue held in Windhoek this month, CEO Dr. Lindiwe Majele Sibanda estimated that "Africa has 60 per cent of the world’s uncultivated arable land, and the potential exists for African yields to grow in value by more than three-fold by the year 2030, from $280 billion today to $880 billion.” She added “Africa’s agricultural sector has the potential not only to feed its own people but to become the breadbasket of the world."
This possibility is encouraged by successful agricultural development across the continent. Progress is seen in countries like Ghana, where agricultural output has increased by an average 5 percent over the past 10 years or Rwanda, where food production has increased by as much as 16 percent in recent years. Although the future of agricultural development in Africa may hold substantial opportunity for growth, immediate and long term challenges pose a threat to development. Prominent obstacles include “poor soils and seeds, lack of finance and markets, and weak policy support” coupled with related issues of climate change, land rights, water availability/quality, etc.
Blog on Agriculture in Africa: http://www.africanagricultureblog.com/
Articles, Papers and Abstracts on Agriculture & Food in Africa from the University of Pennsylvania: http://www.africa.upenn.edu/About_African/ww_food.html
A Lesson Plan for Teachers on ‘Eco Challenges’ in Africa from PBS: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/africa/tools/eco/goals.html
Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) Website: http://www.nepad-caadp.net/
Initiative to End Hunger in Africa Program (USAID) Website: http://www.usaid.gov/locations/sub-saharan_africa/initiatives/ieha.html
1. Do you feel food production in Africa is primarily a global, a continental, regional or a local issue?
2. Is it better to foster agricultural development in Africa through aid or through investment?
3. What are the potential benefits/challenges of agricultural development in Africa which is cultivated through external entities?
4. Could you develop a plan of action for farmers, investors, governments, aid organizations, etc.? What step of the process should each entity concentrate on? What should they be cautious of?
5. What could be the economic, social, and cultural effects (local regional or global) if more agricultural development in Africa is achieved?