Friday, December 03, 2010

Good News for African Food Supply

In a study released Thursday, Harvard University professor Calestous Juma said, "Africa can feed itself... it can make the transition from hungry importer to self-sufficiency in a single generation." The development and increased use of new heat, drought, and flood resistant crops, coupled with better national policies and support for small scale farmers will make the difference. While the majority of Africans are involved in agricultural work, a quarter of the continent's population suffer from chronic malnourishment, a number that has risen drastically since 1990.

The policy shifts that Juma recommends center around decreasing dependence on food aid handouts and food imports. The report was released as a meeting of the East African Community began in Arusha, Tanzania and UN climate talks in Cancun, Mexico began.

Climate change will make food self-sufficiency more challenging, but national involvement in solving problems in the water, energy, transport, education, and communications sectors, is an important step. Additionally, the development of genetically modified crops made from exploiting traits in indigenous African crops could eventually help other parts of the world that face similar food shortages. Collaboration between South America and Africa could strengthen African power on the international stage and would provide more opportunities for development from within.

-Erica Stetz

SOURCE: InDepth News