Long road, huge opportunities for Africa

IFAD President Kanayo Nwanze speaks at Africa Agriculture Science Week (AASW6) in Accra, Ghana. Photo: C. Schubert.

IFAD President Kanayo Nwanze speaks at Africa Agriculture Science Week (AASW6) in Accra, Ghana. Photo: C. Schubert.

The situation wasn’t always this dire in Africa, said Kanayo F. Nwanze, President ofthe International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in his opening speech at the Africa Agriculture Science Week (AASW).

Around thirty years ago, the agriculture sector was thriving on a positive development path with research, investments and agriculture innovations all coming together. Kanayo took the audience back to luscious tea plantations in East Africa, large cotton-fields in West Africa, green rice-fields producing more than enough for the growing population. Africa was taking the lead on food production and other regions such as Asia falling far behind.

So what happened to Africa’s agricultural development? Instead of moving forward, the continent’s agricultural production stagnated or declined during the past three decades. The reasons are multifaceted but according to Kanayo it comes back to lack of investments, population growth, ill-fitted structural investment schemes and a decline in education institutions and quality.

To read the full story by Cecilia Schubert, visit the CCAFS blog.

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