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Limited innovation blamed for Africa’s food insecurity 

KIGALI, (Xinhua) -- Low levels of agricultural innovation in Africa have been blamed for derailing agricultural transformation that led to severe food crisis.

Agricultural experts attending a regional forum on agriculture held in Rwanda’s capital Kigali made the observation on Tuesday.

The three-day meeting organized by Food Agriculture Organization (FAO) discusses how the principles for sustainable food and agriculture can strengthen the contribution of agriculture, forestry and fisheries to sustainable development.

“One of the most common causes of food insecurity in Africa today is limited agricultural innovations in farming technology. There is lack of innovations in agriculture mobile communication, post-harvest loss reduction and other risk-reducing incentives which have led to poor crop yields in various regions on the continent,” said Clayton Campanhola who leads FAO’s strategic program on sustainable agriculture.

He called on African governments to fund and support agricultural innovations, especially farming technologies for small holder farmers.

Experts at the conference argued that farmers are facing changes in weather patterns which have spurred them into shifting their farming methods, hence innovations would provide a great deal for positive agricultural yields.

Mbaye Ndiaye, an agricultural plant scientist from Niger, said that innovations in agriculture that provides farmers with up-to-date weather forecasting would enable them know when to plant and harvest on time to avoid crop losses.

“Improved innovation in agriculture is one of the major actions needed in boosting productivity, creating employment and improving food security in Africa,” he added.

They pointed out that weak regulatory structures for biotechnology and limited efforts to strengthen science-based, cost-effective regulatory systems have also hampered increased agriculture production on the continent.

According to the FAO, Africa has been experiencing several episodes of acute food insecurity, which caused an immense loss of life and livelihoods over the past decades.

The latest FAO figures indicate that Africa has 16 countries where the undernourishment prevalence rate is over 35 percent.

At the meeting, participants concurred that agricultural scientists need to establish stronger linkages and share ideas and expertise.

The conference has brought together about 40 delegates including senior government officials from agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors from across Africa and beyond. 


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