It is important that Africa seeks to embrace agricultural innovations in order to compete in an evolving global bio-economy. Currently, African countries import approximately $25 billion worth of food every year to be able to meet their food and nutrition requirements; only about $1 billion emanates from intra-African trade. These innovative solutions must be implemented to not only boost agricultural performance, but also promote agri-food trade and food security. Africa is home to the highest number of hungry people in the world and this is due to an undeveloped agricultural sector. Thus food security and nutrition should be increasingly raised considering their direct linkage with agriculture to guarantee health, incomes, and improved access. This article seeks to come up with examples of agricultural innovations that can help African farmers boost food security.
Mechanization can be defined as the process of shifting from working largely or entirely by hand or with animals to doing the same work with machinery. Mechanization is very much vital for improving food security and nutrition in Africa since it helps boost production and create opportunity. The use of modern agricultural equipment or more up to date technological innovations will decrease dependence on physical and animal labor as a way of expanding production possibilities. As a result of this, crop diversity will permit farmers to be more competitive in markets and make African states more well-known in international markets.
- Conservation Agriculture
Conservation agriculture is a set of techniques intended to improve soil fertility and the usage of water effectively. It is based on the following 3 set of practices:
- Crop rotation or diversification of crop variety grown in sequence and/or associations.
- Least soil disturbance by reducing the amount of tillage or adopting no-tillage techniques.
- Preservation of crop residues or preservation of a cover crop.
Conservation agriculture is amongst a group of exercises that provide a triple win of increased agricultural production, improved flexibility to climate change, and sequestration of carbon.
Integrating soil fertility management involves applying crop resides, mulch, compost, leaves, livestock manure, and fertilizer. By using these exercises, African farmers are able to meet the nutrient needs of crops while at the same time restoring organic matter, and on the whole soil fertility, which then contributes to sustainable increase of crop production. Farmers in West Africa have implemented this method of farming and as a result of this, saw revenue increases of 179% from maize and 50% from cowpeas and cassava. Farmers all around Africa should implement this practice as in the long run it will help boost food security in the continent.
- Scaling up irrigation projects
Scaling up irrigation projects is another agricultural innovation that will help African farmers boost agricultural production. Africa’s sufficient water resources can be used as compensation for insufficient rainfall if distributed uniformly. More widespread access to and use of irrigation will boost African farmers’ flexibility to climate change, and in the long run assist to produce more food to prevent shortages in the future.