Understand this, “As of 2019, Africa imported food worth US$50billion against US$35billion of 2018”.
According to the United Nations estimate, we have 1.3billion mouths in Africa which are about 16.72% of the world total population and 43.8% of our total population reside in urban towns.
Africa is the second most populous continent in the world; and has the youngest human population with a median age of 19.7 in comparison to the global median age of 30.4 years. 60% of world arable land is in Africa but sadly, we are net importers of food in the world.
Get this now, we are living in difficult times, first world countries are facing the same challenge and money cannot actually provide instant solutions to our problems. I’m not a health specialist therefore, I will focus on my area of core competency and see if I can appropriately pass this information.
As a farmer, my concern is how to feed our growing population in Africa after this global pandemic, things will never be the same, and will need to change our method of food production too.
As an African farmer, I know farmland is not our problem and other continents have proven to us openly that having the largest arable land doesn’t translate to bountiful food production.
To feed the 21st Century population, we have to embrace modern agriculture. Here is what I mean; In Africa, Agriculture seems like an occupation for the rural poor who make use of crude/traditional tools to cultivate their lands.
Our rural farmers struggle with hoes and cutlass to cultivate hundreds of hectares of land since they cannot afford simple tractors that can easy their human labour.
In Africa, food cultivation is seasonal.
Here is what I mean, our farmers depend 100% on rain to cultivate their land, so once is dry season, all farmers embark on an indefinite strike, till nature release it rains on earth. For example; Rice is one of the most consumed staple food in Nigeria.
The home demand for rice as of 2019 was 6.3million tonnes and Nigerian farmers were able to produce just 3.2million tonnes.
Why? Because the 3.2million tonnes was produced in a single season of 3-4 months but our population increase daily in Africa which means more mouths need to be feed.
What can we do now to feed our growing population?
Our farmers need monetary support from our government and individuals.
Our farmers need modern knowledge to able to practice 21st century Agriculture.
Mechanization is the way out.
In Agric-Tech countries like Israel and China, robots are now used on farms which improve food production. Robots now handle most of their farming activities like planting, and even harvest of ripe fruits.
Vegetables/crops are cultivated in Greenhouses.
Preaching the usage of Agric robots in Africa now might not be viable due to our poor infrastructure state, but we have a way out. Simple “irrigation system” should be adopted by our farmers in rural areas to boost food production.
Let me shock you, “our rural rice farmers don’t even know that rice can be cultivated at least twice a year”. We have a lot to do as individuals, if you support your community with water pumping machines, a small dam or borehole, and good seedlings, production will increase.
We can’t continue to depend on foreign countries to feed us, things have changed, the world is not the same again. Food insecurity will hit everyone hard.
This is not the time to blame/insult Federal or State governments for not supporting or investing in Agriculture as they would do, this is the time to play your role in increasing food production in Africa. We are in tough times already, because over 600 million people go to bed daily without food in Africa.
Simply because we can’t produce enough food.
Countries that we depend on for our daily meal are now banning the exportation of food indefinitely. We have to wake up and produce our own food or we starve to death, Agriculture is everybody business today
Invest in Agriculture now. We do not need rains to produce food, we need water and by supporting farmers with simple water pumping machines and creating dams in farming communities, food insecurity will never reach Africa and we can feed the world with surplus food.
Farming is not seasonal and we must learn to use an irrigation system in Africa so we can cultivate food all year round today.