Sub-Saharan Africa Agriculture to Rise 2.6% Yearly Through 2025

  • Productivity improvements will help increase production
  • Growth is hindered by weak transport networks, irrigation

Sub-Saharan Africa’s agricultural output may rise 2.6 percent annually through 2025, boosted by productivity improvements.

“Faster technology adoption associated with the emergence of medium-scale producers and integration of smallholder producers into the value chain” will raise production growth even as area expansion slows, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the United Nations’ Food & Agriculture Organization said in a joint report Monday. Despite improvements, significant gaps remain and imports of most primary food products are projected to rise, it said.

The region is the world’s most food-insecure, with almost a quarter of the population of more than 950 million people undernourished, according to the organizations. Low productivity of agricultural resources, high population growth rates, political instability and civil strife have slowed progress in addressing this. About 43 percent of droughts over the past 25 years have occurred in the area, where crops are predominantly rain-fed, and projections suggest rain variability may increase over the coming decade, further affecting food security.

An El Nino weather pattern obliterated crops from South Africa to Ethiopia, leaving nearby countries fighting for supplies. Malawi has declared a state of disaster and about 50 million people face hunger in the eastern and southern parts of the continent, the United Nation’s humanitarian affairs agency said. Weak transport networks, access to energy, irrigation systems and stockholding facilities also inhibit farming, the organizations said.

“Investments able to reduce the cost of transportation would hold significant benefits to producers and consumers alike,” they said. “Not only would it reduce the cost of imported food products to bolster demand, but it would also provide a more lucrative export market for surplus producers.”

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