Agriculture Development & Land Resources Mobilization in Africa
Prof Suresh Kumar & Dr Chandrakanta K Mathur
Agriculture is the major land resource in Africa that leads to the production, processing, distribution, preparation and consumption of food, resulting in food systems that underpin food security. The management of land resources deals with availability of food, access of food and its utilization (Nutritional values) so that the food systems’ mobilization is secured accordingly. The management of soil and water resources in a sustainable and equitable manner needs a new wave of land reforms with a clear political vision in Africa. Land is becoming a diminishing resource for agriculture, in spite of a growing understanding that the future of food security will depend upon the sustainable management of land resources as well as the conservation of prime farmland for agriculture. The U.N. Committee on Food Security (CFS) has highlighted Land Tenure and International Investments in Agriculture. It analyses the potential impact of acquisitions, particularly in Africa, on food security. It has been estimated that 50 million to 80 million hectares of farmland in developing countries has been the subject of negotiations by international investors in recent years. Two-thirds of it in sub-Saharan Africa is widely recognized as a “hot spot” for endemic hunger. Along with it, Africa needs an alternative food security that is possible to culture fisheries on the land that needs to mobilize the land resources as per the quality of the soil (Barren or Semi-barren land) and the availability of the water. Urbanization and globalization are causing rapid changes to food systems. The future of food security will depend upon the sustainable management of land resources as well as the conservation of prime farmland for agriculture. Africa needs an alternative food security that is possible to culture fisheries on the land that needs to mobilize the land resources as per the quality of the soil (Barren or Semi-barren land) and the availability of the water. Even with all the advances made in capture and culture fisheries, nearly 90 per cent of food requirements will have to come from the soil.
Ample virgin land of Africa needs scientific technology to develop the agriculture sector and agro-industry to cater their population on the one side and to become a food basket for the world community on the other side. The export in agro-industry will increase foreign currency reserves and boost the economic growth of the continent. Agro-industry is the sector that will minimize the Africa’s population dependence on food products and other needs of the kitchen. Agro-industry sector will enable the African rural community to utilize their agricultural crops in the best way and introduce alternative sources of food products in their lives. The additional source will enhance their monthly income and contribute to the agriculture & allied sector comprehensively. The Resolution of the Abuja Food Security Summit of 2006 identifies nine continental strategic commodities (rice, legumes, maize, cotton, oil palm, beef, dairy, poultry and fisheries products) and some regional strategic commodities (cassava, sorghum and millet) for private investments in Africa. Introducing agro-industry for these selected strategic commodities, India can assist the genuine African market and offer an appropriate economic space for Indian investments at the level of regional economies. India’s experience of agro-industry can strengthen agricultural commodity chains across the borders and accomplish the needs of African population as well as global market.
Africa continent appreciates the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and gives importance to the Agriculture development as a goal of SDG. The integrated rural development moves towards sustainability with the introduction of hydraulic, hydro-agricultural and drinking water projects in Africa. This plan strengthens the access to drinking water in rural areas having the construction of a water treatment plant that ensures water security in the region. The scientific development in the agricultural sector acts as a catalyst for balanced and sustainable economic growth in all the regions and combating the effects of climate change. It will boost the livestock production, help in food security and strengthen income generation of millions of farmers and will promote their living conditions.
India declared during the last Forum Summit of 2015 about the India-Africa Food Processing Cluster that will contribute to value-addition and creation of regional and export markets, an India-Africa Integrated Textiles Cluster to support the cotton industry and its processing and conversion into high value products, an India-Africa Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting to harness satellite technology for the agriculture and fisheries sectors as well as to contribute towards disaster preparedness and management of natural resources and an India-Africa Institute of Agriculture and Rural Development. India will work with Regional Economic Communities to establish at the regional level, Soil, Water & Tissue Testing Laboratories, Regional Farm Science Centers, Seed Production-cum-Demonstration Centers, and Material Testing Laboratories for Highways. The Forum Summit 2015 has focused on the Africa’s self-reliant development in agriculture sector and initiates an alternative to African countries either to go for the SAP or build indigenous techniques in the partnership with India and achieve the real reliant development and get rid of any sort of colonial past.
Prof Suresh Kumar, Former Head, Department of African Studies, University of Delhi
Dr Chandrakanta K Mathur, Assistant Professor, SPM College, University of Delhi