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Biosciences for Farming in Africa

Meeting the needs of a projected population of 2 billion in Africa by 2050 will require a massive and sustainable increase in food production. This is a huge challenge, but there are also many opportunities.

Africa has approximately 33 million small farms representing 80 per cent of all farms on the continent.  Smallholder farmers, the vast majority of whom are women, are a particularly important group as they produce as much as 90 per cent of agricultural output in Africa.

Depleted soils, poor quality planting material, the impact of climate change, limited water resources and losses due to pests and diseases have kept African farmers’ yields at one-quarter of the global average. Few farmers use modern high yielding, locally adapted seed. Just by applying existing and available agricultural practice and technologies, the productivity of African agriculture could double or treble. And new agricultural technologies are being developed.

In view of the challenges, all existing methods to improve agricultural productivity deserve serious consideration, and should be made available for farmers to make use of them. Africa is a continent of immense richness; this wealth needs to be harnessed.

B4FA works to encourage dialogue and to promote a better understanding of the available options for improving agricultural productivity in Africa.