SMALL INFORMAL PRODUCERS, MECHANISATION OF FOOD AGRICULTURE AND ERADICATION OF HUNGER IN AFRICA
Currently African governments have several programs and partnerships in place to address hunger in Africa. Despite their actions, progress in the fight against hunger in Africa remains insufficient.
Indeed, according to the United Nations report on food security, 11% of the world's population is undernourished. Moreover, 20% of the 821 million undernourished people in the world in 2017 live in Africa. This undernourishment persists despite the fact that in the same period, Africa spent more than 35 billion dollars on food imports according to the AfDB (African Development Bank). And if nothing is done, by 2025 this figure will more than triple.
Ironically, it is the burden of food imports that prevents the release of agricultural potential and the food self-sufficiency of the African population. In reality, however, Africa does not need these imports because of its agricultural potential and available land (it holds 65% of the world's untapped arable land).
But why does hunger persist in Africa then?! This is mainly due to the lack of agricultural mechanization and the lack of incentives for young people to get involved in agriculture and see it as a lucrative activity.
Indeed, many small farms have limited access to mechanisation and thus reach low levels of productivity. Moreover, young people migrate to urban centres in search of a less harsh life than agriculture can offer them. The lack of incentives for youth to take over has plunged Africa into undernourishment.
The solution to hunger in Africa lies in the mechanization of agriculture and the encouragement of small informal producers.
Today, sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the least mechanised agricultural system on the planet: in West Africa (Côte d'Ivoire, Mali, Nigeria, etc.), the World Bank lists 7.5 tractors per 100 square kilometres of arable land, compared to 1,300 in Europe. Only 5% of all arable land in Africa (excluding Egypt and Mauritius) is irrigated, compared to an average of 38% in countries such as Pakistan, Brazil, India, China and Vietnam.
In view of this situation, investment policies aimed at eradicating hunger must prioritize agricultural mechanization through a participatory approach with young people.