Did you know that Africa consumes 24 million tons of rice yearly, and only 11 million of them are produced in Africa?
Africa has always been held back by issues of food sustainability, and the problem has remained large in the mind of its leaders. With governmental and non-governmental organisations only tentatively getting into these issues and with no concrete solutions in sight, the issue of food sustainability has continued to cause unrest amongst Africans.
With the Support to Agricultural Research for Development of Strategic Crops in Africa (SARD-SC) plan, in collaboration with the African Development Bank (AfDB) and CGIAR institutions, Africans are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
SARD-SC has launched a project to enhancing productivity and income, focusing specially on Africa’s four major crops: maize, wheat, cassava and rice.
Relying on several hubs in African countries for each of the different crops, SARD-SC aims to drastically reducing the number of small–scale farmers living in poverty in Africa. Developments in new varieties of these crops, like stress-tolerant wheat that can stand climatic conditions in African countries like Nigeria, Sudan and Ethiopia, are being actively promoted.
Also, SARD-SC is behind the innovative idea of creating a wiki for farmers to be run by journalists, where farmers can get information relating to agricultural issues and also have some of their problems answered. A similar initiative is the “nutrient manager,” an application for farmers that gives pre-season recommendations as to fertilization and helps distribute information and planning advice. The nutrient manager, says SARD-SC, has the to increase agricultural produce by thirty percent while promoting the more efficient use of agricultural inputs.
With SARD-SC continuing to work on their four key components–agricultural technology and innovation generation technology and innovation dissemination, capacity building and project management– for Africa’s four priority crops, the continent is surely not far away from feeding itself.
Blogpost by Emmanuel Ohiomoba, a social media reporter for AASW6.
Photo: A. Wangalachi (CIMMYT)