Africa Turns to Technology for Hunger Eradication

Fredrick Ngugi May 10, 2016 at 11:45am

May 10, 2016 at 11:45 am | Money Moves

Fredrick Ngugi

Fredrick Ngugi | Contributor

May 10, 2016 at 11:45 am | Money Moves

A Kenyan farmer receiving farming instructions via her mobile phone. Photo (www.africagreenmedia.co.za)

After decades of perpetual food insecurity, Africa has been taking the right steps towards hunger eradication. The latest development comes from agricultural experts in conjunction with the African Development Bank. This major initiative, dubbed Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT), is meant to transform the African agricultural sector and help in improving food sufficiency.

The initiative, which is fronted by the African Development Bank and the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), is anchored on eight major principles:

  • self-sufficiency in rice,
  • sustainable food security in the Sahel region,
  • improved horticulture,
  • restoration of forest cover,
  • growth of cassava,
  • transformation of savannas into a breadbasket,
  • boosting fish farming and
  • improving wheat production.

Through the TAAT initiative, which was launched in April this year, experts hope to eradicate hunger in Africa by the year 2025.

“It has become imperative that an Africa-owned, Africa-led and Africa-driven initiative like TAAT takes a center stage to bring about the best approaches towards increasing Africa’s agricultural productivity and technology delivery,” said Yemi Akinbamijo, the executive director of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa.

The two organizations overseeing the initiative have agreed to embark on the project using the existing technology and innovation structures as they endeavor to vigorously transform the African agricultural sector.

Chinji Ojukwu, the director for agriculture and agro-industry at African Development Bank told the Nigerian press that they plan to make the TAAT initiative demand-driven and come up with policies that will make it sustainable.

“We have set the ball rolling with a projected amount of $716 million, and with the contributions from the development partners, we hope to make great impact by 2025,” Ojukwu said.

The African Development Bank hopes that this initiative will help facilitate effective agricultural researches and create a conducive business environment for African farmers that will guarantee improved revenue, thereby motivating them to expand their crop production.

With improved fertilizer and seeds, farmers in the rural areas will enjoy better yields and transform their subsistence farming into a lucrative business that can sustain their lives and move Africa another step closer to total hunger eradication.

Africa’s Food Security Statistics

Current statistics show a major improvement in food security in Africa as a significant number of African countries have already attained targets set by the Millennium Development Goals and World Food Summit to reduce the population suffering from malnutrition by half.

According to the Regional Overview of Food Insecurity in Africa, many countries including Angola, Cameroon, Ghana and Mali have made great progress in achieving this target. Of significance to note is West Africa, which is estimated to have reduced hunger prevalence by 60 percent.

Relief Web International estimates that in sub-Saharan Africa, at least one person in four suffers from malnutrition, which it says is a decline from one in three 25 years ago.

But even with this progress, a lot still needs to be done to ensure the entire African continent achieves the World Food Summit’s target of reducing the hungry populace by half or better yet, realizing total hunger eradication.

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