Africa: Researchers Stress Importance of Small-Scale Farming to Make Africa Food Secure

Naivasha — Africa is still grappling with food insecurity despite its huge potential in agriculture which can enhance the economic growth and development, researchers noted.

Various factors are attributable to food insecurity in Africa, according to the researchers.

German Institute for Tropical and Subtropical Agriculture Research Director, Brigitte Kaufmann stated that Africa is blessed with nature but committed action from stakeholders, including governments and farmers to adopt concrete solutions, is needed to break the tradition and improve food security.

Many African countries encourage small-scale farming on cash crops, but depending on such farming may plunge the countries into food crises which usually results from low level of production, she warned.

Brigitte recommended collaborative learning approaches to convince farmers and partners to introduce improvements in small scale farming.

"We need to work together with the farmers from the beginning so that they could be motivated to increase their knowledge and also see what capabilities and under what conditions do they need to work," she elaborated.

After this, developing innovations together with the farmers will be much easier for the government. And other farmers will also be interested to try the approach. So, influencing farmers in a good way can help to improve small-scale farming, Brigitte point out.

The researcher said the German Institute for Tropical and Subtropical has registered some success stories in Kenya in dairy value chain by trying this approach. The farmers doubled their milk products.

The potentials in small-scale farms are much because the owners of these farms have a lot of skill, regardless of their sizes, she stated.

We are easily overlooking them. But if we engage them they could be active, develop their capacity to act, take their future in their hands, do things not on their own but through support from scientists and other actors like governmental offices and extension workers," Brigitte underscored.

Senior Program Manager at Agricultural Research for Development Advisory Group, Marlis Lindecke said the easy process of value chain in small-scale farming can help farmers link with consumers directly.

She said there are several actors within the process of value chain, but helping farmers to have direct chain with the consumer can improve their profitability and sustain benefits.

Lindecke further noted that "it is the politicians who have to support the whole process by providing money and knowledge as well as adapting mechanisms that are necessary.

The government can reduce immigration of the youth, in addition to food security, by improving small-scale farming, she said.

Lindecke underscored that "it is also something to make the young people not leave a country and not migrate to urban areas, but stay in rural areas using modern technology which also helps the process."

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