Doubling Productivity and Incomes of Smallholder Farmers in Africa

In this guest post, Dr. Joe DeVries, Vice President of Programmes at the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), tells Farming First why Africa represents the biggest opportunity for filling the gap in global food supply, and how the continent can be empowered to take action. Part of Farming First’s #SDG2countdown blog series exploring SDG2.3 on doubling smallholder productivity & incomes. Despite the many gains made in Africa’s agricultural in the last decade or so, the sector continues to present a number of paradoxes. Although it is home to close to 60 per cent of the world’s uncultivated land and is widely believed to hold the potential of becoming one of the world’s bread baskets, Africa’s food import bill stands at a staggering $35-50 billion per year. Additionally, although recent trends are promising, current yields of major crops remain very low compared to other regions. African cereal yields, for example, are just over one-third of the developing world average.  As a result, the continent accounts for only 10 per cent of the total global agricultural output despite being home to 25 per cent of the world’s arable land. …

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Julian Wolfson: The iDEal Way to Expand Drip Irrigation

In this guest post, the Chief Executive of iDE Europe details how technical assistance through a social enterprise is ensuring that drip irrigation is successful. Without the right knowledge or necessary tools, poor farmers in Nicaragua have been unable to undertake a second growing season during the dry season. However, with micro-irrigation equipment and techniques, these farmers have the potential of doubling their annual production and incomes. Until 2010, their needs were ignored by the commercial sector, who failed to see these farmers as a large enough market for their products. This is the market gap that can be filled by a social enterprise, which exists not simply to make a profit, but to ensure that community and societal objectives can be met. In Nicaragua, that gap is being met by iDEal Tecnologías. …

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