Growing More Crops Sustainably Can Solve Africa’s Food Crisis

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Cloud photo created by standret – www.freepik.com

Everyone is familiar with the food crisis Africa is suffering from. The continent is suffering from the worst food crisis since 1945, and it is being said that millions could die in the upcoming months. This has resulted in many other problems, such as malnutrition, starvation, and more. And now, since everyone is looking for a way to solve Africa’s food crisis, we have found one that can help – growing more crops sustainably. 

Read: What Are The Impacts Of African Climate Change On Crops? – If You Don’t Know, Now You Know!

Recently in Dublin, world leaders, policymakers, plus civil society reps met to talk about the urgent and interrelated issues regarding hunger, nutrition, plus climate justice that are faced by the poorest individuals and nations. In parallel, the international community is currently discussing the objectives and metrics that should shape sustainable development once the particular millennium development objectives expired in 2015.

It is time to place sustainable intensification at typically the heart of African agriculture, and guarantee that development objectives deliver on the plan opened within Dublin. Sustainable intensification involves producing even more crops, better nourishment, and higher rural incomes through the same set of inputs – such as land, water, knowledge, and credit – while reducing ecological impacts on a new sustained basis.

Sub-Saharan Africa faces particular and complex difficulties. The number of hungry people within the continent went up to 239 million last year, plus 40% of kids under five years of age are stunted due to weakness. Africa’s population is expected to practically double by 2050, bringing it to almost 2 billion people. Based on the present trends, the current African meals production system could meet only 13% of the continent’s needs by 2050.

Read: Why Technology Advancements Will Alter and Transform Africa’s Agricultural Economy In A Beneficial Way

Regardless of this urgent requirement, African crop yields happen to be mostly stagnant within the last 50 years. Less than 4% of farmland inside sub-Saharan Africa is irrigated. Almost three-quarters of its soil is degraded as a result of years of planting crops without replacing nutrients; fertilizer use is undoubtedly the lowest in the world, together with most farmers struggling to afford it.

Nevertheless, the carbon footprint of African smallholder farming’s carbon footprint is low, and problems of eutrophication and other types of agricultural pollution are less widespread than elsewhere.

Sustainable intensification is, at times, considered as a Trojan horse for the implantation of considerable, industrial agriculture – increasing yields by means of a dramatic increase in the use of fertilizers and pesticides while paying lip service to environmental surroundings and local farming conditions. As such, sustainable intensification polarises opinion.

However, the term needs to be understood in a more balanced approach and reinterpreted as relevant to the realities of smallholder agriculture and the particular need for building up food security.

A study released recently by the Montpellier panel – international experts in farming, sustainable development, industry, policy, and development from Africa and Europe – seeks to demystify environmentally friendly intensification and possess its relevance to deal with food insecurity, malnutrition, and poverty.

Read: Will Hydroponics Be The Future of African Cultivation?

Agricultural intensification may take several forms, including present systems, a lot of which often are not sustainable. With increasing stress on natural resources and the influence of climate change, intensification must end up being made more sustainable. It can adhere to many paths, such as reducing reliance on fertilizers and pesticides, generating lower greenhouse gas emissions, in addition to contributing to the maintenance of essential public goods, such as biodiversity plus clean water.

Sustainable intensification is attainable for African smallholder farmers and builds on many of their traditional methods. It provides: “micro-dosing” only by which smallholder farmers use the cap of a bottle to calculate out small quantities of fertilizers, increasing yields significantly while keeping costs down for farmers plus reducing the chance of fertilizer runoff into rivers; combining mixed field and tree plants, such as nitrogen-fixing varieties; harvesting in addition to managing scarce water for supplementary water sources, and promoting the revitalization of diverse organic species in typical lands.

But sustainable intensification requires a lot more than just inputs and technology – it demands better co-operation and organization in rural places. For instance, assisting village “grain banks” run by regional farmer associations allows smallholders to safeguard their grain. Farmers deposit grain. The bank retains it protected against pests and illnesses so that farmers can access it as needed or perhaps sell later in the season any time prices are generally higher. This sort of network is usually supported by the Kenya Agricultural Commodity Exchange, a private-sector firm that offers farmers with rates and other market intelligence by SMS text.

Read: The Role Of Hydroponics Farming In Africa’s Increased Food Security

We are asking governments to identify the immense potential regarding sustainable intensification as a driver of development – when it comes to food security, much better nutrition, and even more resilient rural livelihoods.

Even though many parts of the world have observed large increases in crop yields within the last 50 years, production hasn’t always been intensified sustainably. Intensification is often linked to the ills of contemporary agriculture seen in the west – over-use of chemical compounds and fertilizer, pollution of rivers and water bodies, monocrops, and biodiversity deserts.

But African farming does not need to follow suit. Helping African farmers to increase their productivity and earnings while safeguarding the surroundings – in brief, sustainable intensification – provides a balanced and a way forward. 

Conclusion

The current food crisis in Africa is scary, and many ppeople are dying or being affected negatively due to it. By growing more crops sustainably, we can bring an end, or at lest control, the food crisis in Africa. 

Farmers can be of great help when it comes to growing more crops. If the government assists them in increasing their productions and protect their surroundings, they will be able to grow more crops and ultimately solve Africa’s food crisis. 

Growing crops in Africa is not an easy task and is rather a hard one. Therefore, farmers should continue their efforts to grow more crops simultaneously with the help of the government. If the government starts supporting the farmers in the continent, Africa’s food crisis can be solved.

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