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Study: Africa capable of feeding itself

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only
by Staff Writers
Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania (UPI) Dec 2, 2010
If African leaders demonstrate political leadership the continent could both feed itself and become a major agricultural exporter, a study says.

The study, described in a book titled "The New Harvest" by Harvard University professor Calestous Juma, urges African leaders to make agricultural expansion central to all political and economic decision-making, the BBC reported.

The findings are being presented at an informal summit in Tanzania discussing African food security and climate change attended by the presidents of Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.

Leaders need to recognize "agriculture and economy for Africa are one and the same," Juma told the BBC ahead of the meeting.

"It is the responsibility of an African president to modernize the economy and that means essentially starting with the modernization of agriculture," he said.

Food production has stagnated in many parts of Africa despite "abundant" arable land and labor, Juma said.

His study calls for the expansion of basic infrastructure, including new road, irrigation and energy projects.

"You can modernize agriculture in an area by simply building roads, so that you can send in seed and move out produce," he said.

"The ministers for roads are not interested in connecting rural areas, they are mostly interested in connecting urban areas," Juma said.

"It's going to take a president to go in and say I want a link between agricultural transportation and then it will happen."

There is great scope to expand crops traditionally grown in Africa, such as millet, sorghum, cassava or yams, he said.




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Climate change to worsen food security, UN talks told
Cancun (AFP) Dec 1, 2010
Surging prices for staple foods in 2008 and 2010 may be just a foretaste of the future as the impacts of climate change and population growth combine, a report issued at the UN talks in Cancun said Wednesday. Between 2010 and 2050, the price of corn, also called maize, could rise by 42-131 percent, that of rice by 11-78 percent, and that of wheat by 17-67 percent, the International Food Poli ... read more

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