Knowledge for better food systems

Comment: Why agroecology can't transform African agriculture

This commentary from the US-based Breakthrough Institute argues that agroecology is not the best way of reforming agriculture in Africa, because most African agriculture already follows agroecological principles such as avoiding monocropping and not using much fertiliser or pesticide.

The author Nassib Mugwanya, outreach officer at the Uganda Biosciences Information Centre, points out that many agroecological principles such as intercropping are simply solutions that smallholder farmers use to maximise yields in the absence of access to alternative resources.

Mugwanya argues that governments should invest in infrastructure such as irrigation and better roads, and also suggests that fertiliser use and improved seed varieties can help to improve yields.

Read the full article here. See also the Foodsource building block What is sustainable intensification?

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The 54 countries in Africa – from the dry northern African nations, through those in deserts and rainforests, all the way to the temperate parts of South Africa – are hugely varied in their ethnic, cultural, climatic, geographic, and economic aspects. The continent’s population of over a billion inhabitants, with a median age of 19.7 years, is the youngest in the world. Due to both its localised epidemics of hunger and its huge untapped agricultural potential, Sub-Saharan Africa specifically is a key focus area for many NGOs and development agencies interested in food production and security.

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