Africa is rich in both natural and human resources, yet nearly 200 million of its people are undernourished because of inadequate food supplies. Comprehensive strategies are needed across the continent to harness the power of science and technology (S&T) in ways that boost agricultural productivity, profitability, and sustainability -- ultimately ensuring that all Africans have access to enough safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs. This report addresses the question of how science and technology can be mobilized to make that promise a reality.
African farmers pursue a wide range of crop and livestock enterprises that vary both across and within the major agro-ecological zones. Food production and food security in Africa depend on many different systems, unlike other regions of the world where the contribution to food production and food security is based on a limited number of systems. For the foreseeable future in Africa a multitude of farming systems need to become more productive and to generate the desired productivity increases outlined in chapter 2. This chapter describes and characterizes the major farming systems, analyses recent trends in productivity and identifies priority systems which offer the best prospects for measurable gains in productivity and food security.