It’s possible to achieve accelerated rates of yield gain, but more research and development are required.

 

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To satisfy the enormous increase in demand for food in sub-Saharan Africa until 2050, cereal yields must increase to 80 percent of their potential. This calls for a drastic trend break. Graphic courtesy of Wageningen University – http://www.cimmyt.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/cereals_africa_trends_EN-2-768×517.jpg

Can sub-Saharan Africa meet its future cereal food requirement?

 

Sub-Saharan Africa will need to transform and intensify crop production to avoid over-reliance on imports and meet future food security needs, according to a new report.

Recent studies have focused on the global picture, anticipating that food demand will grow 60 percent by 2050 as population soars to 9.7 billion, and hypothesizing that the most sustainable solution is to close the yield gap on land already used for crop production.

Yet, although it is essential to close the yield gap, which is defined as the difference between yield potential and actual farm yield, cereal demand will likely not be met without taking further measures in some regions, write the authors of the report published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

In particular, sub-Saharan Africa faces the prospect of needing greater cereal crop imports or expanding onto previously unfarmed lands, which will lead to a sharp uptick in biodiversity loss and greenhouse gas emissions in the region.

Read the full article: CIMMYT

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Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.