Four ideas to boost agricultural productivity in Africa

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From Burkina Faso to Côte d’Ivoire via Tunisia, The Africa Report highlights four agricultural successes that are sowing the seeds of a bright future on the continent.

This is the first part of a 5 part series.

The challenge is not new. Although all sectors of agricultural production in Africa are experiencing an increase in production, this increase is still insufficient to meet the growing demand for food as the continent’s population continues to grow. Productivity remains too low.

Year after year, analysts point to the growing dependence of African countries on food imports – mainly from Asia – with China and Thailand supplying most of the continent’s rice, while South American exporters , Russia and Ukraine supply other agricultural products.

Winning formulas

Africa has already found winning formulas in the field of agricultural productivity, but much remains to be done in terms of the organization of sectors; whether it involves optimizing the often precarious logistics of securing inputs and transporting crops or building efficient cooperatives.

Tunisian winegrowers certainly have a lesson or two to teach how to build successful cooperatives; pooling the means of production and marketing; help each other and share knowledge.

Another major achievement has been the creation of seeds adapted to the local environment, such as Mercedes cocoa variety developed by agronomists in Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast. Thanks to its introduction, the country’s cocoa yields jumped 83%. If the same amount of R&D resources were devoted to other crops consumed locally, as opposed to those destined for export, this could be a game-changer.

Finally, the use of emerging technologies is another promising avenue, with micro-irrigation (Burkina Faso was the pioneer of the method in Africa) and drones (some rice growers in Togo use them to map their fields, optimize their agricultural operations and improve the application of crop protection products) already achieving productivity gains.

In this series, The Africa report zooms in on four useful ideas that increase agricultural production on the continent – four success stories in very different countries and sectors. However, these stories are not intended to be exhaustive.: the creativity of African farmers, faced with a multitude of challenges, particularly in terms of logistics and climate change, does not stop there. Our hope is that these four examples will inspire other agricultural actors in Africa to improve productivity and better feed their populations.

Understanding the Africa of tomorrow … today

We believe that Africa is poorly represented, and poorly underestimated. Beyond the vast opportunity manifested in African markets, we put forward the people who make the difference; leaders turning the tide, young drivers of change and a tireless business community. This is what we believe is changing the continent, and this is what we are reporting on. With hard-hitting surveys, innovative analysis, and in-depth dives into countries and sectors, The Africa Report delivers the insights you need.

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