At the Africa Green Revolution Forum recently held in Rwanda, leaders from government, business, civil society, and farmers discussed ways to advance resilient and sustainable agriculture that will feed 1 billion people in sub-Saharan Africa today, and more than 2 billion by 2050. Resilient, sustainable, and well-connected agriculture is essential to providing people with access to affordable and nutritious food.
Africa, home to 33 million smallholder farmers, provide 80% of the continent’s food supply. Yet, these smallholders’ livelihoods are under threat due to climate change. Although Africa contributes minuscule amounts of greenhouse gas emissions, it is one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change for a couple reasons. First, Africa has a weak ability to adapt to weather impacts, and it is also highly dependent on rain-fed agriculture.
Adequate nutrition is especially important in the period following a child’s conception to his or her second year of age. Recent scientific studies have shown that extreme weather (longer and more intense droughts, heavy rainfall and floods) has the potential to lead to an increase in malnutrition and stunting due to poor crop yields.
Becoming a Modern Sustainable Agriculture System
To ensure a sustainable African food and land use system, academic institutions and governments are working together to build capacity to support long-term land use planning. They are also creating coalitions to support the implementation of policies on-the-ground.
Africa’s agricultural sector is changing fast. The World Bank estimates the African food market will be worth US $ 1 trillion by 2030 up from the current US $300 billion. Demand for food is also projected to double by 2050, and the demand for better food will increase to reflect the rapid growth of the continent’s middle class.
Improvements are being made to increase smallholders’ access to finance and markets, rural infrastructure, and policies and standards of inter-African food trading. All of this will ensure that young people are attracted into the farming sector, and to ensure that they can sell produce at a fair and regular price.
There is a new narrative unfolding in Africa. As Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank, winner of the World Food Price in 2017, has said,
“The future of food in the world will depend on what Africa does with agriculture”.