The Ag: Divisional Manager for Visioning and Knowledge Management at the Forum for Agriculture Research in Africa (FARA), Dr ‘Wole Fatunbi, has made a strong case for Sustainable intensification of agriculture in Africa. He explained that the rapidly growing population of the continent required that stakeholders in the agricultural sector will need to find new and innovative ways of getting more food from the limited natural resources available in the continent; this is only achievable through the use of superior science.
He added that the failure to give attention to this issues will mean that less food will be available to feed the increasing population that depend on agriculture for food and fiber.
The kickoff meeting of the PROIntensAfrica held at the FARA Secretariat in Accra between April 21-23 and attended by about 60 high level stakeholders from leading agricultural institution from 15 European countries and eight organizations in Africa.
According to Dr Wole Fatunbi, available data a decade ago indicated that the proportion of arable land in Africa stood at 11 percent of the global arable lands and the population in Africa as at that time was also 11 percent of the population in the world, however, in 2014, Africa population had risen to about 14.3 percent of the global population while the arable land remained the same. “Africa surely has more mouths to feed, yet the arable land to produce the food is not increasing, rather decreasing with unsustainable production practices. This calls for innovative ways that will ensure that we still find more food for the increasing population and that is the basis for intensification,” he said at the meeting.
He underscored the need for increased and continuous research into new mechanisms that can help find solutions to the effects of the megatrends on Africa agriculture. “Sustaining productivity is the key to feeding the world’s population. This needs to be done properly,” he said. While intensifying production and increasing productivity, stakeholders must not lose sight of the need to properly balance profit with people and the planet, “Sustainability and intensification shouldn’t just be profit and profit alone. They should benefit people and also save the planet for the future generations,” he added.
As part of the kickoff session on April 21, each of the seven working packages (WPs) of the ProIntesAfrica program gave an overview of their activities for peer review, assessment and critique and the outcome of the review is expected to feed in into the project final document.