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December 10th, 2018 / The Standard, Kenya

Africa’s demand for food will more than double by 2050, driven by population growth and rapid urbanisation.

A growing population is not the only challenge. Africa has to contend with new enemies such as climate change and the traditional ones such as pests, poor infrastructure and post-harvest losses.

Some years back, increased agricultural productivity in Africa was based on opening up new lands for farming. With population growth, the acreage of arable land will not increase, meaning that the same fields must produce more for consumption and trade. At the moment, yields from Africa’s farms are lagging far behind the rest of the world. Harvests per hectare for crops such as maize can be as much as 80 per cent below their potential. As a result, estimates indicate that the continent’s annual food import bill will stand at $110 billion by 2025. Providing farmers with new high-yielding and hybrid seed varieties is an important part of the solution to agricultural development. These seeds will help farmers generate higher crop yields and overcome the constant barrage of plant pests, drought and disease that are the enemies of agriculture everywhere in the continent. Read more