Magazine article New African

Africa Has the Potential to Feed the World

Magazine article New African

Africa Has the Potential to Feed the World

Article excerpt

Dr Sipho Moyo is the Africa director of ONE - the NGO co-founded by the Irish musician Bono to advocate for an end to extreme poverty. Its latest campaign - Do Agric, It Pays - is a call for increased investments in agriculture and nutrition

Agriculture is the issue of our time. 2014 has been declared the "Year of Agriculture and Food Security" by the African Union, and the ONE campaign is determined to make sure African governments deliver for the 70% of Africans who make a living from agriculture. We launched the Do Agric. It Pays campaign this January in Addis Ababa. Ethiopia, to coincide with the AU summit, where heads of state gathered to discuss key development challenges across the continent, and declared 2014 the Year of Agriculture in Africa.

Now is the time to get our leaders to commit to a big push towards implementing effective agricultural policies, scale up public investment in agriculture, and catalyse private sector participation in agricultural development.

Of the more than 400 million Africans living in extreme poverty, 70% live in rural areas that depend on agriculture. Remarkably, the multiplier effect of agricultural growth in sub-Saharan Africa is estimated to be 11 times greater in reducing poverty than in other non-agricultural sectors, such as utilities and mining.

It is an obscenity that so often the people who feed us are struggling to survive. Smallholder farmers are the people most connected to our land, but can lack the resources to make them thrive. Better irrigation, (arming equipment, storage, market access, and women's land rights could mean a brighter future for millions. They have been ignored by many of our leaders for too long.

Studies show that investing in agriculture pays. It could help lift 85 million people out of extreme poverty by 2024, provide jobs, and boost the continent's economy. We also know that based on Africa's share (60%) of remaining global arable land, our continent doesn't just have the potential to feed itself - it has the potential to help reed the world.

In 2003, African leaders pledged to invest 10% or their national budgets in agriculture - eight of them did, while the rest, despite efforts to scale up their budgetary commitments, have yet to keep their promises. …

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