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August 7th, 2017 / Agri-Pulse

The African Union is urging all countries to devote at least 10 percent of their respective budgets to agriculture. The African Development Bank has placed a priority on providing capital for agriculture production. The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, AGRA, is focusing on seed development, improving soils and expanding markets while working with both the private and public sectors.

The missing link, to paraphrase Nobel Prize winner and father of the Green Revolution, Norman Borlaug, is “taking it to the farmer.” Improved seeds, inputs, and education are not reaching the smallholder farms. When they do reach farmers, according to AGRA, yields can triple in just a season or two, as they have in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania. Africa now has 90 seed companies in 18 countries. Locally adopted, high-yielding hybrid crop varieties that respond to the needs of local communities are coming on line. The next big challenge is reaching smallholder farmers who farm just a few acres (one hector is 2.5 acres) in small villages down dirt roads. In short, Africa needs a much more developed distribution system. Read more