Investing in Africa’s Food Security to Minimize Foreign Dependence

By Korir Isaac / Published October 18, 2021 | 11:24 am




KEY POINTS

African governments and the private sector need to scale up proven climate-adapted, science-based production and other technologies to create an enabling environment for enhancing agricultural production.


Food security

Food insecurity in Africa continues to remain a great cause for concern. Over 246 million Africans go to bed hungry every night, yet the continent has enough resources to keep its people fully fed.

Commodity export volumes consistently rise, but more Africans are facing food insecurity.

The problem is agriculture. The pace of Africa’s agricultural growth is not keeping up with the continent’s population growth.

More than six out of every 10 people in Sub-Saharan Africa work in the continent’s agriculture sector. Many people don’t realize this, but what grows from African soil may be connected to some of the world’s most popular foods.

Africa produces the world’s largest supply of cocoa, used in chocolate bars and other products. Kenya is one of the largest exporters of tea across the globe; Ethiopia and Uganda-grown coffee beans, which dominate Africa’s coffee exports, are valued at nearly $2 billion in 2020.

ALSO READ: 5 Kenyan Women Listed Among the Top 50 Names in Corporate Africa

It is imperative for African and global leaders, as well as development organizations, to join the call for increased investments in agricultural technologies that boost Africa’s food production and food security in the face of climate change.

The continent has immense potential to feed itself and to become a breadbasket to the world: about 65 percent of Earth’s remaining uncultivated, arable land is in Africa.

However, that potential is threatened by erratic weather extremes. It is also stunted because a majority of African food growers are subsistence smallholder farmers. We need to scale up the delivery of modern and climate-smart farming practices.

We need the right investments to help African farmers put more food in the mouths of their families. We need interventions that help farmers benefit from access to improved agricultural technologies that result in higher food production.

Of course, there have been a few agricultural technologies that have proven quite convenient. Drought-resistant maize, heat-resistant wheat, higher-yielding seed varieties, are good examples.

We have also seen technologies such as seed treatments to protect against pests like the fall armyworm, which has been devastating African crops in waves of hungry, winged swarms.

Consequently, organizations need to up their efforts on initiatives that deliver higher food production, access to more nutritious foods, and helping farmers adapt to environments impacted by climate change.

Moreover, we should advocate for gender-sensitive policy reform and gender-inclusive development.

Combined, these activities are raising incomes for women and men in farming and contributing to a better quality of life for Africans all along the food value chain.

African governments and the private sector need to scale up proven climate-adapted, science-based production and other technologies to create an enabling environment for enhancing agricultural production.

Governments must commit to policy and regulation that facilitates access to modern technologies. They should also build critical backbone infrastructure linking production areas to markets and processing at African national and regional levels.

There is also a need for crowding in private-sector investments and access to finance. Private sector investment and business expertise will grow food supply chain commercial viability, as well as the inclusion of more small and medium enterprises and smallholder farmers.

Above all, support to an African special emergency assistance fund on famine and drought will do the continent well.




About Korir Isaac

A creative, tenacious, and passionate journalist with impeccable ethics and a nose for anticipated and spontaneous news. He may not say it, but he sure can make one hell of a story.

View other posts by Korir Isaac


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