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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  • Strategic Actions for National Agricultural Research Systems and University Managers

    Science and technology options that can make a difference

    • Adopt a market-led productivity improvement strategy.
    • Adopt a production ecological approach with a primary focus on identified continental priority farming systems.
    • Pursue a strategy of integrated sustainable intensification.
    • Bridge the genetic divide.
    • Recognize the potential of rainfed agriculture and accord it priority.
    • Reduce land degradation and replenish soil fertility.
    • Explore higher-scale integrated catchment strategies for natural resource management.
    • Promote the conservation, sustainable and equitable use of biodiversity.
    • Enhance use of mechanical power.
    • Embrace information and communication technology at all levels.
    • Improve the coping strategies of farmers in response to environmental variability and climate change.

    Building impact-oriented research, knowledge and development institutions

    • Design and invest in national agricultural science systems that involve farmers in education, research and extension.
    • Encourage institutions and mechanisms to articulate science and technology strategies and policies.

    Creating and retaining a new generation of agricultural scientists

    • Focus on current and future generations of scientists in Africa.
    • Broaden and deepen political support for agricultural science.
    • Reform university curricula.
    • Mobilize increased and sustainable funding for higher education in science and technology, minimizing dependence on external donor support.
    • Strengthen science education at primary and secondary school levels.

    Engaging science and technology for the benefit of African agriculture in the near term

    • Implement a series of innovative participatory science and technology. pilot programs focusing on four priority continental farming systems: maize mixed, cereal/root crop mixed, irrigated, and tree crop based.
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