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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  • Integrated Approaches
    Integrated approaches search for the best use of the functional relations among living organisms in relation to the environment, without excluding use of external inputs. Integrated approaches aim at the achievement of multiple goals (productivity increase, environmental sustainability and social welfare) using a variety of methods. Food can for instance be produced with minimal adverse effects on the environment, and therefore without harming the functions of other ecosystems. The combination of integrated pest and disease management, integrated water management and integrated nutrient management offer considerable promise. Integrated pest management in rice cultivation provided one of the first examples of the use of integrated approaches, with its reliance on natural predators and parasites, allowing a reduction in the application of pesticides. Integrated nutrient management exploits the functional relations between systems (e.g., by restoring nutrient balances in order to reduce soil fertility decline or to even improve soil fertility, while reducing contamination). Integrated water management aims to increase water use efficiency using a variety of approaches.
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