Africa needs paradigm-shift in agricultural practice to achieve zero hunger


African farmers need to adopt modern agricultural practices to end hunger and ensure food security as required by the target-two (Goal-2) of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), expert have said.

They believe that modern agronomy methods and technology in agriculture could also promote decent work and economic growth on the continent as the Goal-8 of the SDGs stipulates.

“There is a high possibility of improving yields if farmers adopt good quality seed, inputs and adopt good farming practices,” said Barbara Muzata, head of Communications for Africa Middle East at Corteva Agriscience told Xinhua in a follow-up interview after the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) held in Ghana.

Apart from supporting farmers world-wide, Corteva Agriscience, a publicly-traded global agriculture company also partners the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) to improve the capacity of small-holder farmers in Africa.

The biggest opportunity for agriculture support lies in the African region where farmers are recording low crop yields, said Muzata.

“The average yield in Africa is 2.4 metric tons per hectare, compared with 11 metric tons per hectare in the United States of America (USA),” she said, attributing the problem of low yields to the level of adoption of hybrid seeds by African farmers.

In addition, she said, integrating modern information and communications technology (ICT) and digital technology into agriculture would contribute greatly to turning around the continent’s productivity and youth employment to meet the SDGs goal number eight.

In Kenya and other African countries where the sector has embraced technology, she said farmers received contents through smart phone applications, while research teams no longer drove over long distances to do their research, but are using technology like drones to collect data to aid farming.

According to data from the African Development Bank (AfDB), one-third of African youths aged between 15 and 35 were unemployed and discouraged. It added that only one out of every six is in wage employment.

With the digital and technological revolution in agriculture, Betty Kiplagat, Corteva’s government affairs official for Africa and Middle-East, said African youth would see opportunities to enter agriculture as “agropreneurs (Agricultural entrepreneurs)” because many of them do not want to do manual labor on farms as their grandparents did.

Kiplagat underscored the need to introduce young African university students to modern technology applications in agriculture before they leave school.

She said this orientation would enable them to realize the opportunities therein and thereby decide to become agriculture workers and investors in the future.

While some African youth migrate from rural areas to urban areas in search of non-existent jobs and leaving farms and lands fallow, Kiplagat remarked that agriculture could provide these jobs for them.

“I have seen youth who understand what agriculture is, and have brought that into their business and cannot get out of it,” she added. Enditem

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