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The African population is growing. And with that also concerns that manages Africa feed itself

He currently lives in Africa, 1.26 billion people. In 2050 it will most likely be 2.5 times more, and all the inhabitants of this continent will have considerable worry about where to find sustenance. As confirmed in studies Wageningen University, nor the rapid increase in the current economic production and intensification of agriculture can not prevent African food shortages, without thereby avoid significant threats to biodiversity and increased greenhouse gas emissions.

Various predictions and model future scenarios are always encumbered by certain elements of uncertainty and error, but the amount of data gathered by Martin van Ittersum of the research center at the University of Wageningen in the Netherlands, just as sobering. Existing agricultural production in sub-Saharan Africa recalculated per hectare is very low. In fact, it is reaching only about 20% of the volume that would be possible under the same conditions with better guidance. Just for comparison, more sophisticated methods of agricultural work in the Netherlands or the United States reaches about 80% of the overall potential agricultural land. I mentioned these twenty percent but enough, at least technically, to feed the entire African population.

Famine and acute food shortages in some African countries is to be seen in a pan-African context. Because the main problem is the imperfect distribution of food, not their production. Of the 53 African countries live 54% of the African population in ten of them. These ten countries also cultivates 58% of all agricultural land across the continent.

In 2050 it solved the problem but it will take slightly different proportions. The African population will grow approximately 2,5-2,6krát and consumption of cereals (maize, millet, rice, sorghum and wheat) that pops about 3.4 times the current situation. What does it mean? That to maintain production will need to increase the level of African agriculture 80%, to a level comparable with current US and Holland. And while today the average African maize yield per hectare of about two tons for thirty-four years by the same land had to give seven tons. Given that the modernization of agriculture is looking for a way to Africa hard enough, the problem is slowly increasing. Of course, there are improvement: every year, the Africans managed to pull in the case of maize per hectare on average 30 kilograms of yellow corn more. But for Africa was self-sufficient, this should improve year on year to reach 130 kg per year.

Regarding agricultural production, Africa is climatically mild compared to Europe's advantage. Can not afford a few harvests a year. "But that would involve, inter alia build support systems, irrigation and thus already governs many other uncertainties," adds Van Ittersum. Not everywhere is enough water, fertile soils and often then not get a suitable space. African agriculture must expand and easiest option, of course, seems penetration growing areas in suitable climate humid areas. If there was an intersection of cultivated land into forests, it would have been linked to significant biodiversity loss, as well as greenhouse gas emissions. It's one more option. Food could be imported into Africa from elsewhere. But African countries do not have such purchases to sufficient capital.

"I still hear that Africa might in the future become the breadbasket of the world, but more likely is a condition in which Africa will do that alone support her,"
says Van Ittersum. At least to that would help her rapid intensification of agriculture. This would involved the breeding of more productive varieties adapted to local conditions, significantly improved methods of fertilization, consistent control of pests and diseases, including parasitic plants. and if we add even said aid irrigation system, increasing the estimated costs into the stratosphere.

Van Ittersum together with colleagues from the Netherlands focused more on biophysical limits and possibilities of production, but also stressed the importance of a properly set up the economy. African malozemědělci who will have access to the market, transport, infrastructure, loans and investments, according to him themselves can change many things. Moreover, as supplemented Kindia Tesfaye from the International Center for Maize and Wheat Improvement (CIMMYT), it is possible to deal with a future intensification of African agriculture accessed in two ways. Be simple implementation, which will not be cheap, or realizations, in which we take environmental considerations. And it is even more expensive.

Author: Radomír Dohnal

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