As the world looks for ways to boost food production by at least 70 percent by 2050 to feed an increasingly hungry planet, many people are looking to sub-Saharan Africa — a region with 50 to 60 percent of the planet’s unused arable land.
Crop yields in Africa average about one metric ton per hectare. That’s well below many other parts of the world that produce up to seven tons per hectare, suggesting there is potential for big boosts in production.
Experts say efforts like Gitau’s banana project — which combine improved seeds and crop varieties, better access to markets and information for small-scale farmers, improved transportation and the like — could be part of the blueprint for a 21st century agrarian revolution in Africa.
“Africa is now the last frontier in terms of arable land,” said James Nyoro, the Rockefeller Foundation’s managing director for Africa. “With the population growing to 9 billion, the rest of the world will have to depend upon Africa to feed it.”