The Green Revolution and Farming's Need for an Infrastructure Boost
According to estimates by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), 80% of farmland in sub-Saharan Africa is managed by smallholders working on up to 10 hectares.
The issue does not only concern Africa. On a global level, the UN says more than 90% of the 570 million farms worldwide are managed by an individual or a family, producing more than 80% of the world’s food.
Scientists have warned that in order to prevent a food crisis, pre-emptive measures should be taken to make these small-scale farms sustainable while avoiding intensive resource use.
To help meet those goals, the 10-year-old Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) focuses on smallholder farms to meet the various environmental challenges of the region, like seed production and soil health. A further objective is to open up a rich agriculture market which has been neglected all these years.
It brings together public and private sector working directly with African farmers, businesses, and governments.
AGRA argues that it has helped African farmers increase their production, resulting in direct household consumption and surpluses for the market.
According to AGRA’s 2015 report, in 2015 smallholder households produced about 3.4 million additional metric tons of cereals, soybeans and groundnuts for their own consumption as well as 1.5 million metric tons surplus for the market.
“Over the past nine years, AGRA and its partners have worked across 18 sub-Saharan African countries to deliver a set of solutions that have reached 18.2 million farm families,” AGRA’s Dr Richard Jones told EurActiv.com.