Africa’s farmers need better production focus

The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) has said that African farmers should farm smart and increase production, without necessarily using more land.

Unless this happened, there would be a food crisis by 2050 with the world population expected to have doubled. The Addis-Ababa based think-tank on grain production, said that farmers would have to boost their yields and practice irrigation.

The Ethiopian-based grain think-tank said farmers would boost yields by expanding the area under irrigation.

“It is possible for the continent to feed a population expected to grow 250% by 2050 by producing more food on land already planted,” the report said.

Sub-Saharan Africa currently imported about 20% of its grain needs; a number that was predicted to increase to at least 50% by 2050.

The report noted that increasing land for planting had proved counter-productive in the light of climate change because it led to increased greenhouse gas emissions and a reduction in biodiversity through the loss of forests.

The report advised increased financial support to the agricultural sector so that it was better positioned to feed the increasing population. “In many African countries agriculture receives the lowest financial support in terms of GDP,” the African think-tank stated.

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