A Platform Technology for Improving Livelihoods of Resource Poor Farmers in Africa
Africa faces increasingly serious problems in its ability to feed its rapidly growing population, resulting in high hunger and poverty incidences. Growth in agricultural productivity is essential to reduce hunger and poverty and ensure food security. Agricultural growth can be achieved by reducing incidence of the major constraints to productivity such as pests, weeds and degraded soils. These constraints are responsible for the continent’s crop productivity being the lowest in the world, and cause high levels of hunger, malnutrition and poverty.
Governments, donors and stakeholders in the Agricultural value chains recognise that in order to address hunger and poverty, these constraints must be effectively addressed. Therefore development and deployment of technologies that would improve sustainability and resilience of the farming systems are needed to contribute towards ending hunger and poverty in Africa and indeed the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The main staple foods in the average African diet are cereals. However, in spite of availability of a number of cereal varieties with improved yield potential, the productivity of staple cereal crops remains low, around 1t/ha. Every year there is thus a critical shortage of cereals in many smallholder households, leading to high grain prices, hunger, undernourishment and widespread poverty. According to the World Development Report (2007), significant yield gains can be made by increasing the productivity of the cereal crops