Policymakers, scientists, researchers and farmers at the 3rd Annual African Food Security and Agri-Extension Conference held in Kenya found, the slow adoption of new agricultural technologies across Africa threatens to accelerate food insecurity on the continent. If farmers adopt new agricultural technologies and innovations, food insecurity will be eradicated.
“The agricultural sector is the most effective in reducing poverty and fostering food security in Africa,” said Richard Munang, the coordinator, Africa Regional Climate Change Programme of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Africa holds about 65 per cent of the world’s arable land, sadly, over 60 per cent of African youth are unemployed. Experts at the conference told farmers that rapid deployment of new technologies in agricultural sector and innovations could attract young people to the agricultural sector where they shy away from.
“The future of Africa’s agriculture depends on the ability to tap into the youth and ecosystem services,” Munang said.
Women and the youth are marginalized when it comes to land. Delegates were urged to empower women and young people by giving them land rights to help boost food security. A review in the land sector is very important. Delegates were also urged to develop comprehensive policies that address the challenges of land rights in Africa.
“Where is the land that women and young people need to practice agriculture?” Esther Obaikol questioned. She reiterated that strengthening land rights for women and young people has the potential to eliminate hunger and reduce poverty.
“Some farmers are aware of new technologies in agricultural sector and innovations such as new crop varieties and fertilisers in agriculture but shy away from them. The biggest challenge to the adoption of these technologies is the perception by farmers that they are very expensive and technically complicated.” Abraham Maruta, the deputy director of the social development arm of the Catholic Church — Caritas — in Meru County, Kenya, said.
Sciedev.net reports, Pascal Kaumbutho, the chief executive officer of the Kenya Network for Draught Animal Technology, said the challenge to produce more food will be more necessary in 2050 than ever in Africa’s history because of the growing population.
“Mechanisation with support structures for smallholder agribusinesses favourable to youth and women are needed to foster food security. Africa needs many agricultural hubs to act as platforms to share innovative solutions for business growth,” Kaumbutho added.