High-quality hybrid seeds could help feed Africa’s growing population

African farmer x

Africa’s demand for food will more than double by 2050, driven by population growth and rapid urbanization. A growing population is not the only challenge. Africa has to contend with new enemies such as climate change and the traditional ones such as pests, poor infrastructure and post-harvest losses.

Some years back, increased agricultural productivity in Africa was based on opening up new lands for farming. With population growth, the acreage of arable land will not increase, meaning that the same fields must produce more for consumption and trade.

Providing farmers with new high-yielding and hybrid seed varieties is an important part of the solution to agricultural development. These seeds will help farmers generate higher crop yields and overcome the constant barrage of plant pests, drought and disease that are the enemies of agriculture everywhere in the continent.

Related article:  Kenya aims to have 200,000 acres of commercial GMO insect-resistant Bt cotton by 2022

At the moment, just about one-third of farmers in Africa have access to these good quality hybrid seeds, meaning that the continent is missing out on one factor that has revolutionized food production elsewhere in the world.

Agriculture presents the best pathway towards lifting the continent out of poverty, and one of the strategies must be investing in a steady supply of plant breeders who in turn continue to sustainably generate new varieties that [are] resistant to diseases, insects, droughts and floods.

Read full, original article: Sustainable hybrid seed sector key to Africa Green Revolution

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