Agricultural practices have evolved a great deal throughout the ages. Modern agriculture worldwide has seen an impressive increase in production and yield.
As a result, we have more affordable food, fiber, feed, and in recent times biofuel crops like cassava and agricultural products for exportation (at least in some parts of the world).
However, the world as a whole has seen a considerable increase in its population, relative to any other time in history. A contributing factor to this is the increased knowledge and technological advancement of medicine and health care. As a result, the overall death rate has reduced whilst birth rate in many parts of the world has increased.
Due to this population increase, our social amenities and natural resources have come under extreme pressure. In fact, it is estimated that sooner or later, the limited natural resources won’t be able to sustain the everenlarging population.
Already, it is estimated by the United Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) that about 233 million people in sub-Saharan Africa were hungry or undernourished in 2014 – 2016.
According to FAO, 795 million people were hungry worldwide. Estimates show that sub-Saharan Africa was the area with the second largest number of hungry people, surpassed only by Asia, due to Asia’s larger population.
To say the least, the world’s food security is not in any way secure. And if nothing is swiftly done about this situation, many people will face severe hunger crisis. Industrialization, innovation, and technology have played key roles in improving agricultural practices in many parts of the world even Africa.
But, if the problem of hunger, starvation and poverty will be addressed in Africa, the agricultural sector needs to see a major turnaround. Turnarounds in the perceptions, approach and of course the agricultural practices.
Large scale commercial farming is surely a way to tackle the issue of food insecurity but is this possible without the necessary knowhow and practices necessary to sustain such an endeavor?
Generally, Africans perceive agriculture as a field for the unschooled and untrained illiterates. Graduates refrain from pursuing careers in the agricultural sector, despite the many career opportunities available therein. Even some of those who major in the Agricultural Science prefer to work in offices and big government organizations.
Meanwhile, just to keep up with rising demands for food stuffs and other agricultural produce, the regular farmer is forced to employ various means to increase yield and production even when some of these means are not so healthy, sustainable nor environmentally friendly.
Over the recent years, all manner of bad agricultural practices have been observed. To mention but a few of these practices are deforestation, overgrazing, over cultivation, over fishing and chemical fishing.
These practices have had several adverse effects including increased desertification, soil erosion, flooding, soil infertility, and drought. All these effect in turn lead to more hunger and suffering thereby forming a vicious cycle. Successive governments have tried to address the situation by enacting laws and legislations to prohibit most of these bad practices. However, the problem is far from being resolved.
The one way to truly ensure that the safest agricultural practices are followed through is by enlightening the people of the land through education. Education geared at highlighting the adverse effects of bad agricultural practices and how to substitute these practices with new and improved ones. Only then will the desired agricultural developments across Africa be attained.