Next agricultural revolution in Africa will be aided by biotechnology, digital technology

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis.

African agriculture has long been a symbol of the continent’s poverty. Officials considered the hundreds of millions of African smallholder farmers too backward to thrive. But all that is changing.

The new African food system should be built around the idea that agriculture is about more than producing calories; it is about changing society.

Africa’s smallholders are more than capable of feeding the continent—so long as they boost their yields by using the latest agronomic practices in combination with appropriately adapted seeds and fertilizer.

The keys to fixing this problem are supplying smallholders with appropriate seeds and fertilizer, providing education and training, and ensuring easy access to markets and larger economic networks. Mobile technology can help on all these fronts. Digital Green, an organization that broadcasts videos of farmers conducting training sessions in local languages, is the next generation of farmer extension programs.

The fortification of food that has long been standard in developed countries has begun coming to Africa as well. Rice in Ghana, maize in Zambia, and sweet potato in several countries are now being fortified with vitamin A. And biofortification promises even bigger opportunities, as advances in genetics have made it easier to breed seeds with specific nutritional characteristics.

Smallholder farmers in Africa can finally be seen as part of the solution. Using digital technology to reach them, listen to them, support them, and help them organize holds out the potential for another agricultural revolution.

Read full, original post: Food and the Transformation of Africa

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