Africa Feeds The World?

by Patrick Appel

Elizabeth Chiles Shelburne explains how the continent could become our next breadbasket:

Much of the world’s arable land is being farmed already, so the lion’s share of the increase will need to come through higher yields. In many places, yields can increaseif prices rise high enough to make investment in more-intensive agriculture worthwhile. Still, much of the developed world is approaching the ceiling of what is cheaply possible. Sub-Saharan Africa, despite its long history of food insecurity, is one place where yields could increase dramatically; agricultural basics such as good seed and fertilizer would go far in a region that the green revolution bypassed. “We could increase yields in sub-Saharan Africa threefold tomorrow with off-the-shelf technology,” says Kenneth Cassman, a well-regarded agronomist who researches potential yields. The problem is the continent’s long history of corruption, poor infrastructure, and lack of market access.