Africa is one of the richest regions in the world from the perspective of resource development. The majority of the world’s arable land is in Africa. With a projected gross domestic product growth averaging 5.4%, Africa is one of the fastest growing regions in the world. Currently, six of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies are in Africa and the continent is attracting more investment in aid.
Yet despite these impressive statistics, a significant portion of Africa’s billion plus population is mired in poverty and malnourishment. It is a paradox that Africa’s agriculture, which is the biggest employer of active labor, cannot provide enough food for its people.
The average life expectancy across Sub-Saharan Africa is 52.5 years, compared to 69.2 worldwide. Half the population live in extreme poverty, subsisting on less than $1.25 per day and 239 million people are malnourished.
Why are smallholder farmers still unable to grow enough food to feed their families and their communities? Why are smallholder farmers (particularly women who constitute the majority of farmers) still unable to generate enough profit to pay for their basic needs from their agricultural produce? Why is the livestock value chain still dominated by few big players when smallholder farmers own the bulk of livestock across Africa?
The future of food security in Africa lies in the hands of African farmers but data are scarce and their stories are only half told.
Heifer has produced a report, The State of the African Farmer, as a contribution to the great debate on agriculture and food security in Africa. It is a compilation of views and voices of farmers, practitioners, policymakers and academics across Africa and beyond, each speaking from the heart and sharing their experience.
Heifer International’s mission is to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth. For 70 years, Heifer International has provided livestock and environmentally sound agricultural training to improve the lives of those who struggle daily for reliable sources of food and income.
This report puts smallholder farmers at the centre of the dialogue about agriculture in Africa.
Click here to download full report.
For more information, please visit Heifer International.