Agricultural production of major crops in Africa including maize, wheat, rice, potatoes, fruits and vegetables, spices etc face a myriad of challenges, chief of which is the low productivity of most of these crops.

Africa has failed to take advantage of the vast lands that remain unexploited adequately to feed its rising population due to low adoption of appropriate technology and other challenges.

However, poor quality produce and low adoption of food safety remain some of the biggest challenges faced by the Continent, as it seeks to feed its population while also increasing its focus on the regional and export markets. Further, lack of harmonised standards across Africa are also hindering the often talked about intra-African trade in various crop produce, including the most traded crops like grains.

The burden borne by African countries in such common issues including mycotoxins, including Aflatoxins, pesticide residues, microbial and physical contamination weigh heavily on the ability of the Continent to feed its population with safe food, while hampering the vast opportunity of regional and international trade.

 

The Questions

How can Africa boost production and productivity of its crop produce to take advantage of its vast land resources profitably, sustainably and safely? What is the role of the private and public sectors in boosting productivity and safety?
What are the appropriate technologies Africa can adopt to improve the quality and food safety of its crop produce for local, regional and international markets? How can Africa eliminate barriers to regional trade brought about by differing produce standards and other non-tariff barriers?
How can Africa build a more resilient crop production system that reduces waste at the farm, during distribution, storage and utilisation? What are the appropriate storage and handling technologies that can be adopted in Africa to reduce waste, boost food safety and crop produce quality?