According to experts, the African population is expected to double by 2050, which means that food demand on the continent is expected to at least double by then. Beyond feeding the population, the social and economic benefits induced by the increase in production and productivity in Africa are obvious. This increase in production would create jobs in agriculture but also in upstream, downstream and support activities; would help to eradicate hunger; would improve the economic situation of populations and would offer farmers new opportunities in international markets. This means that self-sufficiency is achievable, and that Africa could be a net exporter of food products instead of its current status as an importer.
However, the agricultural transformation models implemented in the rest of the world are not transposable as they stand. The African agricultural sector is unique in that it is largely dominated by millions of small family farmers, who cultivate small areas with poor farming techniques. They have limited access to inputs, financial services or technology and mainly practice subsistence agriculture because of their difficulties in accessing the market. These small family farmers are one of three groups that make up the African agricultural sector: the other two are large African and multinational agri-food companies that operate on a large scale on the continent and internationally; and small and medium-sized enterprises that process, transport, refine food or operate farms under conditions similar to those in industrialized countries. Read more