Making the breadbasket of the world self-reliant

According to the Foresight Africa 2022 report, African covers 20 % of the earth’s surface and is home to 1.3 billion of its people, a number likely to reach 2.53 billion by 2050, But the continent’s economic transformation, at both the structural and sectorial levels, is undermined because of the lack of investment in science and technology. In the absence of the economic and scientific infrastructure necessary for innovation, the continent has continued to rely on the colonial development model of resource extraction, a process which is unsustainable and largely responsible for continued poverty and dependence on aid.

Africa despite being naturally wealthy continent continues to be impoverished. And despite minimal progress, the paradox still exists today. Dubbed as breadbasket continent, Africa is still unable to feed its expanding population. Additionally, millions of Africans rely on the generosity and support of foreign benefactors. Despite all of the positive developments on the continent, millions of Africans already depend on daily humanitarian assistance due to threats from both the natural and man-made worlds. Droughts and famines are the outcome of severe climate change effects that have become more frequent and intense throughout Africa.

In contrast to the grim reality, the continent ticks all the boxes to feed the entire world. Having 65 percent of uncultivated land, and over 70 percent young population, Africa indeed with the right policies and strategies, Africa has the potential to substitute dependency with self-sufficiency.

And the sharp growth in the number of global population and the ever-increasing impact of climate change and war and conflicts are expected to demand for food. Despite the long way to walk the talks, there is now increased ambition and push from the African side to encourage trade and discourage aid. Nations have begun investing aggressively in transforming the agriculture sector through innovation and technology.

Despite the same challenges facing the country over the years, Ethiopia has been doing its level best to secure self-sufficiency in food and curtail aid dependency. From the ‘‘Bounty of the Basket’’ (Yelemat Tirufat) initiative to the summer irrigated wheat project, Ethiopia has been taking a wide range of activities to scale up the performance of its agriculture sector. Encouraging results have been made and the country plans to further zoom in on the projects.

Lately, speaking after the 100-day evaluation meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Temesgen Tiruneh disclosed that concerted efforts have been underway to end aid dependency in Ethiopia by developing potential natural resources.

The performance evaluation focused on the performance of the macro-economy and the major sectors, local media reported.

High yield was obtained from summer irrigation, he said, adding that rice cultivation and crop cultivation in general gave abundant harvests. In addition to implementing initiatives, numerous forums have been held with the public in regions to ensure food sovereignty, Temesgen pointed out.

Here, we are reminded that government officials conducted consultations with communities in various parts of the country over the last two weeks to realize a transformative shift in the agricultural sector. The forums were imperative to shape the collective psyche towards self-reliance.

“The government is ready to work day and night with the hardworking people of Ethiopia to increase productivity by utilizing the fertile soil and water and end the country’s history of aid dependency.”

In this regard, the people who participated in the forums have affirmed their determination to stop aid dependence, he said, explaining that this was one of the directions set by the 100-day performance evaluation meeting.

The country’s ambition relies on the ability to accelerate adoption and scale up promising projects like the aforementioned ones.

While the Ethiopian government has recognized the importance of ending dependency and food insecurity, now it is time for all to move from words to actions.

Although not to the extent and ill-intended old stereotyping against Africa, the continent fails to feed its burgeoning population. And millions of Africans depend on the goodwill and assistance of international donors. As much as the good things happening in the continent, natural and man-made menaces are already leaving millions of Africans in need of daily aid support. The severe ramification of climate change which has increased in frequency and intensity in Africa has resulted in droughts and famines.

It would also be necessary to exploit various existing technologies to improve yields per hectare. Other experts say that local investment and knowledge transfer, for instance, on drip irrigation and the use of fertilizers, are also needed.

The continent meets all the requirements to feed everyone on the planet, in contrast to the bleak reality. With more than 70% of its population under the age of thirty and 65% of its land still uncultivated, Africa does, in fact, have the ability to replace dependency with self-sufficiency with the appropriate policies and techniques.

Additionally, the need for food is predicted to rise due to the world’s population expansion, the growing effects of climate change, war, and conflict. Even though the discussions still have a long way to go, the African side is now pushing harder to promote trade and resist aid. Countries have started making significant investments to use technology and innovation to modernize the agriculture sector.



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