Beginning in the 1960s, much of Asia underwent dramatic agricultural transformation which saw enormous improvements in production and efficiencies, and subsequently helped pull millions of people out of poverty, prevent famines and modernize the Asian economy. This transformation was dubbed the “Green Revolution,” and is often cited as the key event which created the vast economic gap between the nations of Asia from those of Africa. While Asia adopted modern technologies such as superior fertilizers and irrigation techniques, Africa failed to make any significant agricultural gains and subsequently never developed and diversified like Asia was able to.
Africa’s agriculture has never developed much beyond subsistence farming, primarily on account of its terrain being unconducive to large-scale farming — the “unlucky fate of Africa” is that its soil fertility is low while its rainfall is erratic and unreliable as a water source. Nonetheless, it is disconcerting that Africa is unable to produce enough food and instead has increasingly had to rely on food imports. The booming urban population in Africa will necessitate a steady supply of food, ideally from the countryside, and the lack of progress in Africa’s agricultural sector is thus a subject of great concern. Read more