Association for Free Research and International Cooperation

The future of Agriculture; a reality or just a dream

13.10.2019
Agriculture in Africa has contributed massively to the economy of the continent. More than 60% of the populace of sub-Saharan Africa are farmers and about 23% of the region’s GDP comes from agriculture sector. Despite such contributions, Africa’s agriculture potentials remain untapped and very far from world standard of agriculture
According to reports from Mckinsey, Africa could produce two to three times of cereals and grains which add up 20% more to what we currently have worldwide.

Africa has been blessed with such arable, and fertile lands, giving grounds to almost all crops to grow. The fertility level of our land gives us an upper hand over the other parts of the world which should easily be translated into high economic benefits, but the reality is very different.

The region is still far behind in terms of agriculture standards, over 90% of agriculture activities still depends on rainfall with no plans of external or artificial irrigation aid. The technique and skills used in production lack upgrade compared to other agriculture practices done in Asia and America.

The lack of irrigation system is a major hurdle in our agricultural sector. In Africa, only 5% of the cultivated land makes use of irrigation, while the rest depends on rainfall. Comparing this analysis to Asia, 38% of the farmers use irrigation, clearly, the results of both continents in agriculture would be two different worlds.

Although we have arable lands, often soil health also becomes a challenge. The soil needs to be worked on every time, fertilizers and other soil nutrients used in farming in Africa is not enough or done in the right proportions. It is either the nutrients that are used are in little quantities or not used at all.

This is due to some factors like the high cost of fertilizers, and high cost of transport. The cost of fertilizer is on the high in this part of the world compared to other parts of the world, leading farmers with no choices than to do their farming with little or no fertilizer and other farming nutrients

Pesticides are another issue dwindling agriculture in Africa, this issue has been a decade problem and yet still the menace continues. The persisting issue boils down to lack of knowledge about which pesticide products and how  to  deal with the exact problems, oftentimes farmers go in for cheap products which end up damaging the environment and also human health problems.

Agriculture in Africa lacks so many factors making the practice not yields its expected results and benefit to boost Africa.

Most countries we started commercial farming with have far advanced producing crops and other commodities that feeds the world. Countries like Singapore, Thailand, China, etc. are far ahead.

Agriculture in Africa is a major source of livelihood as well as a source of provision of food for most homes especially those with a low budget, it is a critical sector in society building yet still little or no attention is paid to this sector.

Low productivity from the agriculture sector leads to rising of issues in society, due to demand and low productivity prices shoots up, which leads to the import of foods and other products. A region with such arable and fertile land energized youth and good climate,  ought to be the leading exporters of agricultural products rather we even import agriculture commodities like tomatoes paste etc.

In the early days of 1970s, Africa produced 8% of the world’s total agricultural produce but now the story is totally different.

The region even imports more than it exports, however it is not too late with better policies, investment, capacity training, etc. the situation would turn around this would improve food and nutrition, reduce poverty, and nurture sustainable growth for the region.

Investment, capacity building for farmers, better policies from the government are some of the ways we can improve the agriculture sector

Agricultural production must double because it will do the region a greater good, economically and, most importantly fight hunger reducing malnutrition or underfeeding. To enhance this progress, more investments need to be pushed into the sector. A big chunk of investment in agriculture will enhance all the other facets

Capacity building of farmers will be worked on, inputting the use of modern ways of farming, knowledge acquisition increasing productivity. When the right measures, policies, education are put in place they all result in the quality production of products that can easily be exported worldwide.

Due to all these factors that affect production, when our commodities are sent to another market worldwide we lose the product value resulting in low pricing of our commodities, as well as losing our competitiveness in the international market. Our products are placed for very low prices which in the end the labor of the farmers is equated to zero not making any profits.

A huge step should be taken by Government, private institutions, and NGOs to modernize agriculture in Africa, all practice that doesn’t foster productivity should be cut off. The use of man-power to work, manual mechanization and old practices should all be removed out of the system to improve our agriculture to be able to stand and compete in the international market

Article from AFRIC editorial

Photo credit/ Google images

 

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