AGRA’s African agriculture report

Woman farmerLast month the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa launched their first annual report detailing the state of African agriculture, entitled The Africa Agriculture Status Report.

Focusing on staple crops, the report synthesises data from 16 African countries as well as international institutions such as the World Bank and UN Food and Agriculture Organisation. The report highlights some key priority areas for policy makers on the continent:

  • Reducing cheap and subsidised food imports, which weaken African agricultural market development, as well as increasing smallholder farmer access to credit, addressing trade restrictions and high transportation costs.
  • Addressing the gender imbalance in access to productive resources such as land, credit, agricultural technologies and services.
  • Boosting research and development for food security for underperforming countries. Africa as a whole has a mere 70 researchers per million inhabitants (compared to the USA, which has 2,640 researchers per million inhabitants).
  • Addressing declining soil fertility, which threatens crop yields and agricultural development. For AGRA this means addressing the high price of fertiliser in many countries of Africa.
  • Reviewing and harmonising seed laws and regulations to allow the development of Africa’s seed markets.

The value of the report lies in its synthesis of data and, due to this, of being able to make comparisons between countries. AGRA aims for the report to cover all countries in sub-Saharan Africa within a few years and has high hopes that the report will enable researchers, scientists, farmers and policymakers to access reliable agricultural data in order to make informed decisions relating to food security, data which can often be difficult to access.

 

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