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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  • Coastal Artisanal Fishing System (1 percent land area, 1 percent agriculture population in Middle East and North Africa; 2 percent land area, 3 percent agriculture population in Sub-Saharan Africa)

    Small-scale artisanal fishermen have worked the coasts of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean for thousands of years. As modern technology and capital have been injected into the offshore fishing industry, the artisanal fishing system has shrunk. In West Africa, the system stretches southward from The Gambia and the Casamance region of Senegal, along the coast of Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana, to Nigeria, Cameroon and Gabon. Population densities are average to high. Households dependent on lake and river fishing are not included in this system.

    The system is based on artisanal fishing complemented by multi-storied tree crop gardens with root crops under coconuts and fruit trees. Artisanal fishing includes sea fishing from boats, seine net fishing from beaches, setting of nets and traps along estuaries and in shallow lagoons, and catching of crustaceans in mangrove swamps. Poultry and goats are the main domestic animals. Cattle keeping is rare due to tsetse infestation, and land preparation is by hand. Off-farm opportunities are connected with tourist resorts along the beaches and with large tree crop estates. In West Africa, because of the humid climate, there is more swamp rice and little or no cashew nut.

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