In Africa, it is known that hunger and malnutrition are not just a problem of food availability, but also a problem of access to food. The advancement of the agricultural sector has greatly improved the food security in Africa. Sustainable agricultural methods are being adopted gradually across the continent and have gone a long way in helping to address the food security needs sustainably. However, increase in population and effects of climate change compound the system of combined pressures that threaten existing efforts and solutions. New technologies will make it possible for sustainable agriculture in Africa to come at par with global standard.
Policy makers and analysts acknowledge the need for improving agricultural productivity and boosting food security in Africa. The development of the agricultural sector and the improvement of food security strongly influence other sectors of the economy and are seen as essential components to sustainable development in Africa. Agriculture is however plagued by many setbacks, making it more and more difficult to achieve its main objective of feeding the continent each year.
Africa is the warmest and second-driest continent in the world; this lack of water limits the expansion of the agricultural landscape. It is also dominated by family farming, which relies mainly on family labor. To increase water security experts have recommended and spearheaded implementation of measures such as the creation of man-made dams, the sinking of wells and preservation of rain catchment systems which provide a reliable source of water for farming. Moreover, due to market demands, high prices have made farming in Africa more profitable and encourage investment in the sector.
Environmental degradation is a factor limiting agricultural productivity and growth in Africa. When soils are subjected to unsustainable exploitation in the course of food production their suitability is diminished. Against the backdrop of a growing global demand for resource-intensive food and use of sustainable agriculture practices and renewable raw materials; organic farming is promoted as a promising sustainability and food security strategy. Due to its similarity to the traditional local agriculture, the transition to organic farming has been particularly easy to achieve for poor farmers that live in remote areas. Organic farming is a system of crop production that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and human beings. It relies on adapting ecological processes to local conditions rather than the use of inputs for enhancement.
The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) has spearheaded African initiatives, such as defining national priorities, as well as assisting Africans’ regaining control of the dialogue with technical and financial partners for support. Studies show a positive correlation between education level, income opportunities, and nutritional status. The improvement of educational opportunities for the poor is an effective way to create social sustainability while combating hunger. The objective for the coming decades is to “ensure food security for a population that is increasing and becoming more urbanized, helping to create wealth and jobs.