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 International Agencies

    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.
    • 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.
    • 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

    • Increase support for agricultural research and development learning institutions.
    • Strengthen international agricultural research centres.

    Creating and retaining a new generation of agricultural scientists

    • Mobilize increased and sustainable funding for higher education science and technology, minimizing dependence on external donor support.

    Markets and policies to make the poor income and food secure

    • Increase investments in rural infrastructure.
    • Strengthen capacity to expand market opportunities.
    • Institute effective intellectual property rights regimes to encourage the private sector and facilitate public-private partnerships.
    • Improve data generation and analysis related to agriculture, food and nutrition security, and vulnerability.

    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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