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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  • Root Crop System (11 percent land area, 11 percent agriculture population in Sub-Saharan Africa)
    This farming system is situated in and extends from Sierra Leone to Benin, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria and Togo. The area is bounded by and merges into the tree crop and forest-based farming systems on the southern, wetter side and into the cereal/root crop mixed farming system on the northern, drier side. Rainfall is either bimodal or nearly continuous, and risk of crop failure is low. As in the tree crop systems, fluctuating demand for industrial crops constitute an important source of vulnerability, as well as emerging soil fertility problems. Agricultural growth potential and poverty reduction potential are moderate; technologies for this system are not yet fully developed. Nonetheless, market prospects for export of oil palm products are attractive, urban demand for root crops is growing, and linkages between agriculture and off-farm activities are relatively well developed.
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