Realizing the Promise and Potential of African Agriculture

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.

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.

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  • Encouraging Extension
    Agricultural extension, vital to the diffusion of new technology, is currently moribund in many African nations. Kenya has 12,000 extension agents but lacks operating funds to buy petrol for motorbikes. Zimbabwe recently merged its research and extension services but inter-service rivalries remain unsolved. Box 5.3 gives some insights into the way forward for Africa. There is a need for more research on the future of extension systems in Africa and the scope for designing private models. Here the International Service for National Agricultural Research can be especially helpful in distilling experiences of the past and experiments of the present into best practice options.
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