Mohamed Béavogui, director of the west and central African division of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), has the following to say in the Guardian‘s Poverty Matters Blog.
‘Africa’s smallholder farmers not only have the potential to produce enough food for export—and thereby contribute to food security worldwide—but to help lead the way to robust growth and development across the continent. That is, if the right kinds of investments and policy approaches are taken to vastly improve their productivity through better access to technology, credit, transportation and markets. . . .
‘Agricultural markets are changing. We no longer need to think exclusively in terms of export crops because new market opportunities are emerging on Africa’s doorstep. As cities expand and incomes increase, people in urban areas are changing their eating habits and becoming consumers who want more meat, dairy products and vegetables, and they expect higher quality standards—we are seeing this across the continent. . . .
‘Ifad’s rural poverty report outlines how small farmers can be helped not only to become more productive, but to farm in a way that is more sustainable in terms of natural resources, and more resilient to climate change.
‘If we can create the conditions for poor rural people in Africa to move out of subsistence and into the marketplace—then we will have our best chance to transform Africa into a continent that not only feeds itself, but also plays a key role in feeding the world.’
Read the whole article at the Guardian‘s Poverty Matters Blog: African farmers can help to transform the continent, 4 May 2011.
And see the current, 2009–2010, corporate report of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI): Back to the future: Revisiting Mixed crop-Livestock Systems, 2010, which agrees with the IFAD report, and further argues that the backbone of Africa’s farmers are small-scale farmers mixing crop growing with livestock raising.