World Grain - November 2019 - 6

GUEST EDITOR

Agriculture's role in the
'African century'

G

iven the change in global agricultural production and trade patterns that followed the Carter grain
embargo in 1980, it is worth considering
what changes may emerge in the years
DIWHU WKH 7UXPS HUD WDUL൵V :KLOH DWWHQtion has been focused over the last several
PRQWKVRQWKHRSSRUWXQLW\WKHWDUL൵VFUHate for South America to expand its share
of global soybean production, consideration also should be directed to a continent with even greater untapped agriculWXUDOSRWHQWLDO²$IULFD
Many analysts have predicted we have
entered what will become the "African
FHQWXU\´ $ UHSRUW E\ WKH ,QWHUQDWLRQDO
Monetary Fund bases this forecast on the
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the number of those entering the labor
IRUFH ZLOO VOXPS WR  RI WKH SRSXODWLRQSHU\HDUIURPWKHDYHUDJHIURP
 WR  7KLV GHPRJUDSKLF VKLIW
represents an opportunity for sub-Saharan
Africa, contingent on successful investments in infrastructure and HGXFDWLRQ
6XFFHVVZLOOQRWEHZLWKRXWFKDOOHQJHV
Much of the continent has been riven by
bloody warfare over the last half century,
and concern presently is greatest around
the Sahel - a stretch of land from Mauritania and Senegal in the west to Sudan
DQG(ULWUHDLQWKHHDVW$GDQJHURXVPL[
of food production problems linked for
several years to changing climate and
WKH HPHUJHQFH RI ,VODPLVW WHUURU JURXSV
threaten to place a stranglehold on the
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countries, but the Sahel could undermine
its prospects unless political instability, viROHQFHDQGFRUUXSWLRQDUHDGGUHVVHG3RRU
governance across the continent remains a
great impediment to SURJUHVV
,I $IULFD LV WR HPHUJH IURP LWV ORZ
state, agriculture will play an im6

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SXEOLVKHG LQ  LQGLFDWHG JURZWK LQ
DJULFXOWXUH LV  WLPHV PRUH H൵HFWLYH DW
reducing poverty than growth in other
VHFWRUV 6XFFHVVHV KDYH EHHQ DFKLHYHG
including a program in Ethiopia aimed at
lifting the incomes of rural, chronically
IRRGLQVHFXUH KRXVHKROGV 7KH SURJUDP
is credited with helping nearly 8 million
Ethiopians gain food security and raising the likelihood participants will access
health care and educate their FKLOGUHQ
To whatever degree this will be the African century, producers there do not appear on the cusp of matching the productivity of the leading oilseeds producers of
WKH ZRUOG$ SDSHU E\ 3HWHU *ROGVPLWK
3K'LQWKH'HSDUWPHQWRI$JULFXOWXUDO
and Consumer Economics at the UniverVLW\RI,OOLQRLVQRWHVVR\EHDQSURGXFHUV
in sub-Saharan Africa yield about onethird of those in leading soybean producLQJFRXQWULHVLQWKHZRUOG,QWKHSDSHU
'U *ROGVPLWK EODPHG WKH SRRU \LHOGV
on a lack of investment in inputs, meaning growers tend to use saved seeds, low
seed populations, no inputs or mechani]DWLRQDQGODWHSODQWLQJGDWHV5HVHDUFKHUVIRXQGWKLVUHJLPHLQQRUWKHUQ*KDQD
generated yields between 9 and 11 bushels per acre and that the low input model
does not achieve economically sustainDEOH UHWXUQV *URZHUV RSHUDWH DW D ORVV
This rudimentary approach may be attractive to donors or those charged with rural
development but was discouraged by the
UHVHDUFKHUV ³7KH ORZ LQSXWORZ RXWSXW
model, which predominates in the tropics
of Africa, stands opposed to the successful
high-input-high-output model used in the
WURSLFVRI6RXWK$PHULFD´KHVDLG2YHUcoming the ill-conceived low-input model
IRUDJULFXOWXUDORXWSXWZRQ¶WEHHDV\EXW
will be crucial if Africa is to begin to apSURDFKDFKLHYLQJLWVORQJXQPHWSRWHQWLDO
Josh Sosland
0LOOLQJ	%DNLQJ1HZV(GLWRU

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WORLD GRAIN (ISSN 0745-8991) Volume 37, issue 11,

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World Grain - November 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of World Grain - November 2019

World Grain - November 2019 - 1
World Grain - November 2019 - 1
World Grain - November 2019 - 2
World Grain - November 2019 - 3
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