In turn, agriculture's poor performance hamstrings the rest of Africa's economy.
Prof. Juma says it's important to see past the problems to recognize Africa's immense land, water and energy resources. It is the only continent with arable land readily available to expand agriculture. Southern Sudan alone could feed all Africans if properly developed, he says.
And the continent is not universally poor and underdeveloped. Some countries are doing well, advanced technology is widespread and strategies that the report recommends are being attempted, most notably in Malawi.
In very general terms, the plan would see African farmers to increase production of traditionally popular foods to be sold on the continent. Eventually, as production increased, exports would follow, spurring development of non-farm businesses.
Farming would be viewed as a knowledge-based industry that marries technology and local indigenous techniques and experience.
The process would be both top-down and community-oriented, Prof. Juma says. Central governments would set production goals and standards, and provide infrastructure, investment capital and technical help. Local groups would decide how best to achieve the goals and support their farmers.
All of the ingredients are crucial, Prof. Juma says.
|Contact: Terry Collins|
Harvard Kennedy Schools Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs