Agricultural policies and environmental, political, economic, social and technological threats for food security in Africa: Present knowledge and future expectation

Umar Mustapha, Richard Culas

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

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According a Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report, Africa is the only continent where per capita food production has steadily declined for the past three decades. It is sad to observe from the report that while average per capita food production increased by 28 percent across the developing countries, Africa's per capita yields grew by mere 4 percent against East Asia's 45 percent and South Asia's 16 percent. One of the obvious reasons is that even if Africa's soils are the poorest in the world, there is no systematic effort to modernize the largely underdeveloped agricultural systems which could arrest the rapid depletion of the soil. Another 2010 FAO data show that of the world's estimated 925 million hungry people, over 95 percent live in developing countries and 276 million of these people live in Africa. Practically, most of the African hungry people derive their livelihood from farming, which is characterized as low input based on unimpressive and low yield technology, rain-fed and single-crop system. The chapter found a multiple of factors that are political, economic, social and legal which impacts of food security and living stands in Africa. It is evident from the chapter that many African countries are at present practicing poor traditional systems of farming. It is found that the issue of modern technology in agriculture has not been fully placed at the forefront of African development agenda as observed in NEPAD's major priorities that concentrated on promotion of sustainable political and economic systems, democracy, equal opportunities for women and good corporate governance.The chapter argues that more enabling policies on agricultural products production and trade should be encouraged. Policies should always be directed so that they are in line with major development goals. For example, the policy on subsidies should be reviewed based on its implementation challenges. Though there have been proposals to withdraw this policy. The pros and cons of this action should be critically analyzed because it can bring food production activities to a standstill, which may result into food insecurity. Secondly, the current market structure for some agricultural products is still facing challenges of continuously fluctuating prices, high production costs etc. and as a result some farmers may not be able to continue operations should the subsidy be withdrawn. The chapter also recommends a user-friendly agricultural system and simple but high output technology methods should be vigorously introduced and sustained by African governments, private sector, NGOs and farmers. This is for the purpose of increasing food production, food quality and food accessibility and availability which are essential requirements for food security and sustainable rural lives across the African nations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFood security
Subtitle of host publicationQuality management, issues and economic implications
EditorsMaddox A Jones, Francisco E Hernandez
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherNova Science Publishers
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9781620817360
ISBN (Print)9781620817162
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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