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Africa can feed itself in a generation: Study

endous potential and opportunities but remains characterized by persistent food shortages, which may be worsened by climate change unless efforts to change direction are stepped up.

"We have come to the end of a century of policies that favored Africa's export of raw materials and importation of food. Africa is starting to focus on agricultural innovation as its new engine for regional trade and prosperity," he says.

"Yet Africa has abundant arable land and labor which, with an agreed common approach and sound policies, could translate into greater production, incomes and food security."

"The plan would combine the use of modern science and technology, infrastructure expansion, improved technical education, and stimulation of business development. By focusing on women and rural prosperity, Africa would create a more inclusive agricultural revolution."

Key elements in the transition include:

  • Use of modern technologies (including modern biotechnology) and investment in geographical sciences for improved natural resource management;

  • Continued expansion of basic infrastructure (telecommunications, transportation, energy, and irrigation);

  • Improved technical education, especially for women and provision of experiential education;

  • Creation of new enterprises, especially in fields such as seed production, farm mechanization, food storage and processing;

  • Harmonization of trading practices that extends regional markets;

  • Close cooperation between government, industry, academia and civil society in policy formulation and implementation;

  • Leadership by presidents and prime ministers to coordinate critical input involved a diversity of powerful ministries dealing with finance, infrastructure, education, trade and industry, and regional cooperation.

"An African agricultural revolution is within reach, provided the continent can focus on

Contact: Terry Collins
Harvard Kennedy Schools Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

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