Eritrea Among Fifteen Countries of the World where Agricultural Production Rose
Africa will be the new breadbasket of the world
by Mark Cochi | http://www.agoravox.it
Monday, October 21, 2013
The World Bank and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) are convinced that the continent has the potential to become the new barn on the planet.
Despite this, many security experts warn that this could have negative implications for the food security of the African peoples themselves, wondering if a region where hunger and degradation are still present able to sell huge quantities of food.
As is known, the African continent, and in particular sub-Saharan Africa, is an area of great contrasts . In fact, while drought and famine have hit countries like Namibia , while a recent study by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation , which for some years has been promoting good governance in the region, notes that among the fifteen countries of the world where most of the agricultural production rose between 2000 and 2008, seven were in Africa : Angola (13.6%), Guinea (9.9%), Eritrea (9.3%), Mozambique (7.8%), Nigeria (7% ), Ethiopia (6.8%) and Burkina Faso (6.2%).
How to interpret so many different situations, keeping in mind that in 2050 the population of Africa will double? And on that date, a continent inhabited by two billion people will have the ability to feed everyone, in a global context that demands more and more food?
The continent holds 60% of the arable land untapped of the world total, equal to 600 million hectares, in addition to being the area of the planet less affected by soil pollution. Two assumptions demonstrating that Africa, with its spaces and its resources, contains a potential that could really turn it into a new barn on the planet .
Nevertheless, the African agricultural sector has a good chance of development starting from a very low growth rates, ranging between 2 and 5% per annum. There is also to be considered that the land to be plowed out there, as noted Grow Africa , the partnership set up by the World Economic Forum to promote the agricultural development in the continent, in his recent study shows that Mozambique, Nigeria and Tanzania share the major extensions of unused fields of the continent.
But not before he had put in place a number of internal changes (not easy to implement) to end the cycle of subsistence farming, to ensure more effective management of resources and give an added impetus to sustainable development policies, including through investments in infrastructure to support the growth of the sector.
According to the World Bank, Africa annually produces 700 million tons of agricultural products, which make 313mila million dollars (230 million euro). In other words, agriculture accounts for 15% of its wealth and provide employment opportunities for more than 80% of the population, but the underdevelopment is such that in many areas you can not even produce the necessary for the supply of families who work there.
Not to mention that enough small changes in climate, such as a dry season or rainy to lose the most abundant crops.
This gap is confirmed by the latest estimates of ' UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development), according to which exports of food commodities have declined from 3.8% in 2003 to 3.5% in 2012. All this while South Africa, one of the countries with the greatest agricultural development of the region, it is still a net importer of food .
Meanwhile, one study from May 2011 curated by the FAO and the Swedish Institute for Food Biotechnology (Sik) shows that in the world abound 1,300 million tons of food per year , equal to a third of the food produced, while a ratio of Syngenta, one of the leading agro world, tends to emphasize how many times by 2050 we will need tens of millions of additional acres of crops for feeding.
At this point, pressed by necessity, Africa with its enormous potential of arable land will be forced to take action. But it will be able to meet the challenge?