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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  • Crops Important to Africa
    Over recent decades there has been a heightened interest in various crops especially important to Africa such as legumes (cowpeas, pigeon pea, beans, and groundnut); roots and tubers (cassava, yams, potatoes); banana and teff. There has, however, been insufficient investment to identify their potentials and constraints (NRC, 1996). In addition to technical options, the limited international trade in these products may encourage regional markets to flourish, with little interference from international markets to suppress prices. Some crops have received virtually no sustained research. Elementary studies on teff, for example, have already shown enormous potential and await development. Box 4.5 describes the potential contribution of Africa's own rich biodiversity to the welfare of its people.
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