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 anytime soon.
As Africa turns to Agriculture for long-term sufficiency and sustenance, the world is also indicating interest in Africa for global food supply and production. By the year 2050, international observers foresee the potential of Africa becoming the food bedrock of the world.
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How is that so? Some would ask, giving that Agriculture has not yet taken center stage in Africa like it should for such huge proposition.
In case you do not know, the population of Africa which said to be 15% of the entire world is expected to rise to 25% by 2050. This prediction calls for action not just for Africa but the world at large. If a significant increase in population has been foreseen then significant agricultural measures should be taken by stakeholders to preempt effects of a predicted lack.
Microsoft says that this can be achieved through 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 of taking up global food supply, once there is funding, recruitment of a generation of young farmers, training/ modern farming skill acquisition and the introduction of technology. Already, the continent exudes the tendency of increasing agricultural yields with technology.
How Africa Can Feed The World By 2050
Although the youth have been regarded as the major pilots of this plan, a huge part of the predicted actualization of agricultural independence in Africa revolves around a lot of financial factors.
Lack of finance is the leading setback in starting up independent businesses 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. Also, coming up are few major scale farming businesses that 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, is 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 a larger chunk of African farmers is the elderly, then the future of Agriculture in Africa is threatened. This is why there should be many forms of motivation for the youth by the government.
Some African countries have already started making plans to avoid this futuristic threat. For instance, 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 and better technology than it has now.
Africa embracing technology would mean more encouragement for the youth to pursue careers in agriculture, says Microsoft.
Microsoft says that better technology will entice more youth to pursue a career in agriculture. Stating the facts the tech giant says that the average age of farmers in sub-Saharan Africa is 60 years old, meaning a poor image of the business in the minds of the youth.
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. And technology would also mean more young hands in the business.
According to Microsoft,
digital technology is likely to be a major driver Of development in African agriculture.
The tech company cites African countries like Sudan who use of satellite images in the Gezira Irrigation to convey information about crop growth humidity and nutrient needs; and Nigeria too, where drones are used to map potential for expanding rice cultivation.
Once the aforementioned 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 the global food supply is being threatened by climate change,
food production must grow by a staggering 70 percent to keep hunger on a global level at bay; according to Microsoft. This way, the tech giant says that the needs of a growing urban population can be met, and the counteraction of the effects of climate change can be achieved.
Africa is said to be home to 60% of uncultivated arable land in the world with about 600 million hectares.