Africa is home to fertile soils, ample rainfall and a number of vital natural resources which has helped countries’ economies remain relatively stable; yet a majority of all Africans still live below the poverty line with others suffering hunger calamity.
The food shortages are being blamed on unpredictable weather as a result of climate change. Floods and droughts especially in my country, Uganda over the last two to three years have badly affected agricultural production particularly in the north and east of the country and pushed up food prices.
However, climate change should not solely be blamed since it can be argued that leaders should have been planning ahead and looking at how new technology could be used to help prevent serious problems, rather than waiting for disaster to strike before acting.
The basis of these solutions is to provide a link from time of executing farming idea to the time of finding the market. It is an interconnected bridge of ideas basically termed as the Food hub. This hub looks at the time seeds are manufactured, improves on their quality , integrates technology in planting mechanism and sees to it that they are sold to benefit of the stake holders.
1. Introduction of associations and construction of food hubs.
We can create a dynamic rural-urban center of community mobilization and action, as well as an actual facility built by community members. Through this strategy 100-500 people are brought together as a cluster of rural villages with common goal. The central building serves as a focal point where the motivation, energies and leadership of the people converge with the resources of local government and non-governmental organizations. Over some period of years, the association addresses hunger and poverty issues and moves along a path toward sustainable self-reliance, at which point it is able to fund its own activities and no longer requires financial investment from any donor.
The facility constructed works as a warehouse to protect excess goods that have been produced in one growing season for supply in case of scarcity ensues.
In project areas where the above stocktaking indicates that participatory groups are lacking, it will be indispensable to promote their formation either from scratch or from or within existing groups or organizations. The latter may be either traditional or formal ones like cooperatives. Informal smaller action groups could be formed within or from the large organizations for certain enterprises
For the inventory of existing groups and organizations a distinction has to be made between standard and participatory organizations. The former, usually formal organizations (among others, most cooperatives and farmer associations), are set up, managed or controlled by outside agencies, hierarchical leadership, employed managers and/or other elites. Participatory groups and organizations are started and run by low-income people themselves and have consequently a more active membership and better performance.
Small homogeneous groups are to be formed by poor people themselves around certain starter income-raising activities
2. In order to boost production, farmers should practice an agricultural zoning strategy, which will focus on selection of basic commodities for increased exports to regional and international markets. Farmers should be empowered enough with the necessary means, resources and knowledge to turn the zones into viable production units for a sustainable food development and food security.
Long run productivity should be improved, through existing or establishment of new enterprises to help farmers move up the value chain by public investments in value addition activities with the objective of enhancing rural incomes and livelihoods and general prosperity.
At the same time, parallel but associated investments around staples and basic foods, usually with a different target group, will deliver improved food security at the household level. The agricultural sector will then move towards greater profitability and an improved capacity to compete.
3. Need for value addition through promotion of technological inputs and infrastructure. There is considerable potential for rural job creation not only in farming, agro-processing and rural industry but also in building rural infrastructure, in the sustainable management of natural resources, waste and residues. I therefore propose:
Supporting and promoting efforts to harmonize modern technologies with traditional and indigenous knowledge for sustainable rural development;
Provide access to credit and other mechanisms as well as resources for farm-based activities, especially for small-scale farmers.
Support training and capacity-building of rural communities to effectively implement adaptation programmes to climate change at the local level;
4. Use of genetically modified foods and enhanced seeds.
Often classified as GMOs, have changed the way that people view their food. Although genetic modifications have occurred throughout history with selective breeding and growing methods, scientific advances have allowed this practice to advance to the genetic level. In the modern GMO, plants can be resistant to specific pesticides and herbicides while becoming adaptive to changing environmental conditions.
The primary advantage of genetically modified foods is that crop yields become more consistent and productive, allowing more people to be fed.
Without doubt, biotechnology has advantages. Refusal to acknowledge technological developments is like hiding your head in a sand dune while a storm gathers. It has been effective in India and China where populations are enormous.
5. Practice of irrigation farming.
Effective irrigation will influence the entire growth process from seedbed preparation, germination, root growth, nutrient utilization, plant growth and regrowth, yield and quality.
The challenge with Africa’s productivity is essentially climate change and any efforts to shift away from climate based agriculture to non-seasonal farming should be used effectively and exhaustively.
PS. No single solution will bring about rural transformation and zero hunger but by collective efforts of different stake holders through small consolidated efforts, a sustainable development will be achieved.
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