Only 15% of South Africa is suitable for crops
26 May 2017 – South Africa has no more than 15 percent of land that can be used for crop production due to low rainfall and poor soil, agriculture minister Senzeni Zokwana said on Wednesday.
Covering 1.2-million square km of land, South Africa is self-sufficient in virtually all major agricultural products but it uses 50 percent of its water for irrigation.
This problem is worsening however, with the drought in the Western Cape recently being declared a disaster. This follows a trend however. South Africa suffered its driest year on record in 2015 according to the national weather service. The current drought which has damaged crops and hit economic growth shows no sign of abating.
Africa must start by treating agriculture as a business
23 May 2017 – No region of the world has ever moved to industrialised economy status without a transformation of the agricultural sector. Agriculture, which contributes 16.2% of the GDP of Africa, and gives some form of employment to over 60% of the population, holds the key to accelerated growth, diversification and job creation for African economies.
But the performance of the sector has historically been low. Cereal yields are significantly below the global average. Modern farm inputs, including improved seeds, mechanisation, and irrigation, are severely limited. Read more…
How urbanisation can benefit farmers
The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) has released its 2017 Global Food Policy Report, the latest in an annual analysis of developments in food policy across the developing world based on the most recent available evidence. This report especially focuses on the effect that urbanisation has on food systems. Read more…
The dynamics of land deals in Africa
Looking at several large-scale land deals in Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia, this extraordinary documentary highlights the nuanced impacts of these investments. Small-scale farmers and producers, national government officials, and African policy-makers unpack the deals, showing that there are winners and losers when providing investors access to large tracts of land in Africa. Read more..