Global Food Supply– Agriculture is the go-to sector for most economies across Africa and the world.
Food is the most important basic need of man. This is why the business of growing them is a steady one that will not fade out any time soon.
As Africa turns to Agriculture for long term sufficiency and sustenance, the world is also indicating interest in Africa for food production. By the year 2050, international observers foresee the potential of Africa becoming the food bedrock of the world.
How is that so? Some would ask, giving that Agriculture has not yet taken centre stage like it should for such huge proposition.
According to Microsoft,
“The key to making this lofty goal a reality? Better financing structures, easier access to markets, better education and more training – all underpinned by technology.”
In other words the world’s leading tech company suggests that Africa is equal to the challenge once there is funding, recruitment of a generation of young farmers, training/ modern farming skill acquisition and the introduction of technology.
This is the leading setback in starting up an independent business in Africa. Since the majority of African farmers are elderly and not usually tech-friendly, obtaining loans from financial institutions is often a problem.
Most African farmers operate subsistence farming. There are few major scale farming businesses who attract investments.
African governments can help by supporting and empowering these group of farmers.
Adding to the funding hurdle, Microsoft reports the genius approach of Felix Musau, Kenyan small-scale farmer. The inventor designed an app that will showcase small scale farmers in need of a loan.
The cloud-based App, AGIN which is supported by the Microsoft 4Afrika initiative and hosted on Microsoft Azure s used to collect and share information of these farmers with local banks. The advantage here is that it boosts the chances of potential yet unknown farmers in obtaining loans for their business.
2. Recruiting More Young Farmers
The present day African youth is the future of Africa. If the chunk of African farmers are the elderly, then the future of Agriculture in Africa is threatened.
Some African countries have already started making plans to avoid this futuristic threat.
Nigeria is considering the use of the annual NYSC scheme to improve the nation’s agricultural sector. Kenya is following suit.
Gradually the sensitization of going back to our fields has started manifesting in the business world. However before the agricultural revolution gets fully set into motion, Africa needs more farmers than it has now.
“By embracing technology, we can also entice more youth to pursue a career in agriculture. The average age of farmers in sub-Saharan Africa is 60 years old. With an aging population of farmers, it’s clear that agriculture has an image problem.”
Technology is being introduced in every facet of agriculture. From the funding and procurement, clearing of the land, planting, irrigation and harvesting, technology is re-branding the face of African agriculture.
“From farms in Sudan using satellite images in the Gezira irrigation scheme to convey information about crop growth humidity and nutrient needs, to drones in Nigeria being used to map potential for expanding rice cultivation – digital technology is likely to continue to be a major driver of development in African agriculture.”
Once the above mentioned factors are taken cognizance of, agriculture will be improved for the good of the continent and the world at large.
According to Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), there will be about 9.1 billion people in the world by 2050; making it a 30% increment of the current world population.
With the increase also comes increased demand for food amongst other basic amenities. As it is the global food supply is being threatened by climate change.
“To meet the needs of a growing urban population, and to counteract the effects of climate change, food production must grow by a staggering 70 percent to keep hunger on a global level at bay.”
Africa is said to be home to 60% of uncultivated arable land in the world with about 600 million hectares.