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Boosting agricultural development in sub-Saharan Africa

African agriculture remains one of the essential sectors for the development and emergence of Africa in general. 

To exclude or not to put agriculture in primacy in the objectives of sustainable development is to set aside an agricultural population of nearly 530 million and 580 million by 2020 (NEPAD), knowing that women and young people constitute a significant part of this population.

As a result, African states must evolve from proposals, programs and plans to concrete actions concrete actions that will improve the condition an active agricultural population estimated at nearly 48 percent of the total African population. Thus, the Asian Green Revolution should serve as an example for the development of agriculture in Africa although the contexts differ. 

This Asian Green Revolution is based primarily on a vision and strategy that first led to the development of policies that support SMEs and smallholders in the agricultural sector, and then access to modern technologies through the use of improved seeds and installation of irrigation pumps, finances for the improvement of agricultural infrastructure and agricultural extension. 

Sub-Saharan Africa is the region that contains nearly 60 percent of the world's uncultivated arable land, or nearly 600 million hectares. African agricultural production consists largely of the crop sector accounting for 80 percent of the area cultivated between 1990 and 2013. Among the crops most produced in sub-Saharan Africa in 2009 were cereals with 93 million hectares or nearly 14 percent of the arable land (land estimated at nearly 733 million in 2009 by the Economic Commission for Africa), maize 29 percent, rice 8.4percent, sorghum 23.7 percent, cassava 10.7 percent, and tuber root 19.7percent. 

Livestock and aquaculture are also important sub-sectors for African agriculture although their production is low. The production of fruit and vegetables intended primarily for in recent years, exports have allowed East African countries to diversify their agricultural yields in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. According to the FAO between 1990 and 2013, the total value of agricultural production has increased by 130% for a labor force of nearly 530 million (NEPAD). 

Currently, agriculture accounts for 16percent of the GDP of the African continent for a market estimated after 1000 billion by 2030 (ADB 2016). Through all these statistics, it is clear that agriculture must be at the center of the economic development of the countries of the sub-Saharan region to mainly improve the conditions of the 580 million people who will continue to depend on agriculture as a source of income and livelihood by 2030. 

This article highlights the development of agriculture by the 17 Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. It shows how agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa can achieve sustainable, resilient and inclusive growth by respecting the 17 strategic directions for e sustainable development that were approved by 193 countries on August 2, 2015, in New York.


Photo credit: Neil Palmer