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AfricaMoney | August 20, 2017

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Investment in agriculture is a must to reduce poverty & hunger in Africa

Investment in agriculture is a must to reduce poverty & hunger in Africa

The future is brighter as Africa looks forward to increasing efforts towards providing access to agricultural resources; with the potential to achieve a sustainable food security system and create an opportunity to become a key influencer in world hunger, creating higher value-added foods, and bio-energy products.(Image:msutoday.msu.edu)

With Financing for Development being a hot topic, there are clear signs that investing in agriculture is the right thing to do.

Globally, 842 million people are estimated to be undernourished and in  2012 alone, the number of hungry people in Africa grew to 239 million. Accordingly, it appears that the goal to reduce poverty and undernourishment by half is unachievable for the year 2015, and will require serious focus within Africa.

Agriculture plays a critical role in African livelihoods, and the competitiveness of this industry affects the income earnings of the African population.

The accelerated growth in African agriculture, which contributes more than any other sector to rising incomes in rural areas where most people live and work, is essential to achieve the UN’s Millennium Development Goal 1.

Countries within Africa, which are making progress towards halving poverty and undernourishment, include Angola, Ethiopia, Ghana, Rwanda and Uganda. These countries are pioneers in altering the future outcomes of hunger and poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa and have made a commitment to their own agricultural development.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) explains that, despite migration of people from the countryside to cities, and the corresponding growth in the urban population, the rural population will continue to grow. In future, the Sub-Saharan African population is expected to double, from 770 million in 2005 to approximately 1.5-2 billion in 2050.

For low-income farmers, one of the key issues is not having access to the capital required to help adapt their outputs to market demands. Farmers have encountered low productivity with small crop yields, combined with a dependency on export earnings.

With protected and nurtured resources, such as access to proper land, water and human resources, Africa has the potential to achieve a sustainable food security system. This creates an opportunity for Africa to become a key influencer in world hunger, creating higher value-added foods, and bio-energy products.

Urbanization and the growing population creates agricultural growth in Sub-Saharan Africa through domestic and intra-African demand for food commodities. The agricultural GDP grew 3.2% a year in Africa between 2000 and 2010, which was an increase from the previous decadal increase of 3% a year. And, even this moderate growth has had great influence in reducing poverty levels throughout many African countries.

Finally, the future is brighter as Africa looks forward to increasing its efforts towards providing access to agricultural resources. The changing demands for food from demographic and socio-economic shifts represent an opportunity for African agriculture. Agricultural innovations from Europe and Asia, which took place over centuries, are now being implemented in Africa in mere decades.

Source: Huffington Post

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