Africa Food Self-Sufficient within one Generation, says study

Added by on December 4, 2010

Africa will be able to feed itself within one generation, despite increasing threats from global warming, say a study released to coincide with the UN climate summit in Cancun, Mexico.

The current study, The New Harvest, Agricultural Innovation in Africa, was led by Calestous Juma of Harvard University, who said: “Africa can feed itself. And it can make the transition from hungry importer to self-sufficiency in a single generation.”

At present approximately 70 per cent of the African population in engaged in agriculture yet 250 million, a quarter of the population, remain undernourished. This reflects an increase of 100 million since 1990.

A UN panel of climate experts has predicted that some 220 million people in Africa alone could suffer significant disruptions in their water supply as early as 2020, as the continent struggles with increased heat waves, floods, mudslides, droughts and desertification.

The study determined that it would be possible to break the continent’s dependence of food imports, as well as dealing with a changing climate, if emphasising research into new heat-, drought-, or flood resistant crops, and with improved support for small-scale farmers.

It also called for greater involvement by national leaders to ensure a policy shift away from the policies that created the dependence on food aid, as well as imports, in the first place.

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