Agriculture plays a crucial role in the African economy and the daily lives of most Africans. The continent has 65 percent of the world’s remaining uncultivated arable land, an abundance of fresh water and about 300 days of sunshine each year. More than 60 percent of Africa’s working population is engaged in agriculture accounting for a third of the continent’s GDP. However, the sector is plagued by the use of outdated methods and tools, hence the need for rapid modernization.
Agricultural development has been hailed as one of the key tools that can be used for ending extreme poverty, thus boosting shared prosperity and feeding a projected global population of 9.7 billion people by 2050. The potential for growth this sector brings in terms of raising incomes among the poorest population does not come without a cost. Modern agriculture is responsible for an enormous share of environmental degradation, leading to the deterioration of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, depleting water resources, and driving climate change. The modern food production practices employed to feed 7.6 billion people are responsible for 26 percent of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, 32 percent of terrestrial acidification, 78 percent of eutrophication, and two-thirds of freshwater withdrawals.
Africa is expected to experience a population boom by 2050, doubling its current population of 1.2 billion to more than 2 billion. Considering that current food production practices employed across the continent are unsustainable and unaffordable, Africa is missing an opportunity to be self-sustaining and to even export food. Furthermore, climate change disproportionally affects the continent, making the need for transformation even more urgent. If Africa is to mitigate these roadblocks, its agriculture needs to be modernized through the contribution of technologies that fall under the auspices of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).The full article is for subscribed members only. To view the full article please subscribe. It’s FREE!Log In Register
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