In the lead-up to its High-Level Expert Forum in Rome this October, the FAO has issued a cautiously optimistic progress report on the state of the African agricultural sector, as reported in a recent article by Voice of America.
The FAO has calculated that agriculture has grown by 3.5% in 2008, largely due to better policies and more uptake of new technologies such as drought-resistant rice.
Keith Wiebe, FAO’s Deputy Director of the Agricultural Development Economics division, said:
After a long period of neglect, the importance of agriculture is becoming more clear to all of us. And that is resulting in improvements in some of the supporting services and infrastructure that are the real obstacle to improved growth in Africa.
Women are a key part of the agricultural workforce as they represent about 80% of those working in the sector. They will be expected to double food production in order to feed an African population that is set to grow from 770 million in 2005 to over billion by mid-century.