Department and School: College of Agriculture, Animal Sciences and Veterinary Medicine
Country: University of Rwanda
Africa is facing a very big problem of food insecurity; malnutrition and chronic hunger,even though the majority of its dwellers have agriculture based life. But also, many voices are questioning whether and how this continent can feed its population that is expected to triple by 2050 to ensure that food security which is the state whereby everyone have at the right time and right place a healthy food, is achieved in all its country members .the answers to this question is ‘’yes’’ and can only be found and justified through agricultural innovation.
Nowadays, the development of agricultural domain is rising day by day with a quick and high speed, but there still a lot to do ahead. Some issues have to be taken into consideration. Firstly, there is no food security without good harvest; furthermore some factors that are the main causes of this like climatic change which brings about unexpected long periods of heavy rain and prolonged drought have to be controlled adequately by maintaining ecosystem at a sustainable level, here, people should be particularly taught how to properly conserve our environment by not cutting down forest trees anyhow, e.g.in Rwanda they say ‘’if you cut one mature tree, plant two’’ so that carbon can be effectively sequestrated and never affect our seasons again.
Secondly, Agricultural extension should be done and reinforced sufficiently and every farmer practicing either at small or large scale has to be approached and trained how to use fertilizers and soil amendments properly as their misuses lead to land degradation. Due to the high cost of fertilizers, poor families have to be supported to find them easily e.g. still in Rwanda, they introduced a program called NKUNGANIRE, where the government pays 50%and the farmer pays 50% of the total price of fertilizers.
Thirdly, Watersheds should be managed and constructed in a way that they can convey water to the appropriate fate without causing erosion, after water harvesting systems should also be prepared to help conservation of water to be used in drought season. Mechanization should be taken into account to enhance easy, fast and less risky ploughing. Irrigation and drainage systems should be the first point to consider as they will help to use uncultivated lands due to lack and excess of water.
To conclude, farmers should be empowered to form groups or co-operatives as this will be the easiest way to find financial support and to have a good produce. Post harvesting technology should be reinforced so that the production will be conserved for a long time. The government policy should encourage banks to feel free to give loans to groups of farmers or co-operatives so that the investment would be so high hence high production. Insurance companies should start to insure agricultural activities as disasters and climatic condition might affect crops and damage the whole plantation which will lead to a famine. Without doubt, Africa will no longer suffer from food insecurity if young people, women are sufficiently engaged in agriculture and scientific research are empowered.