Closing Africa?s agricultural yield gap

8/5/2014
Financial Times This Is Africa

AS THE WHITE HOUSE WECLOMES LEADERS FROM MORE THAN 50 AFRICAN STATES TO WASHINGTON D.C. FOR THE US-AFRICA LEADERS SUMMIT, THE UNITED STATES CAN OFFER THE REGION GUIDANCE IN A RANGE OF SECTORS. CLOSING THE AGRICULTURAL YIELD GAP IS SURE TO BE A PRIORITY.

It is estimated that farmers in the US grow five times as much corn per acre as smallholder farmers in Africa, for instance. This gap will only widen as the effects of climate change increase. Average temperatures in sub-Saharan Africa are projected to increase by between 1.5 and 3.1C by 2050.

For the millions of African farmers who rely on free ranging livestock and rain-fed crops to feed their families and generate income, this is bad news. That is, unless the science and technology that have lifted the agricultural sectors of developed nations such as the US to highly productive ones are made available to those who need them most.

The African Union-led Africa Climate-Smart Agriculture Alliance, which seeks to bring climate-smart technologies to 25 million farmers in...

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