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a f r i c agricul an ture

fact sh eet

“Africa has the potential to feed the world in future” (WORLD BANK)




of Africa’s labour workforce employed in agriculture


% 32 Africa’s GDP



fall in yields due to climate change by 2050


agricultural researchers per 1 million inhabitants world’s lowest

of total


2.2 tonnes per

The average grain yield in Africa (2.2t/ha) is below the world average (3.4t/ha) by 49%

70 25



output produced by women



3.4 tonnes per hectare

2.4 billion

African population growth by 2050


smallholder farms




33 million




up to

amount of world’s available arable land in Africa








of African rice farms traditionally depend on rainfall



crop loss due to pests

“Africa desperately needs simple and efficient high yielding farming systems, improved seeds bred for local conditions, combined with necessary chemical fertilisers and effective integrated pest management practices” Professor Norman Borlaug, Nobel Laureate and “Father of the Green Revolution”

green shoots biosciences in africa 2014 “Just by applying existing and available agricultural advice and technologies, the productivity of African agriculture could double or treble. But new agricultural technologies are being developed and trialed which could achieve even more...” Sir Brian Heap, B4FA

A V A S S A C R E P SUecting and improving a key local crop prot

Why? s depend Over 200 million African crop which t stan resi t ugh dro on this y calorie dail of 60% to up provides atened by a intake. However, it is thre g brown streak group of viruses includin t rot and and cassava mosaic, roo losses of up various pests that cause tinent. to 50% across the con Who? at Lakes Researchers in the Gre ling cassava Cassava Initiative are tack Central virus diseases in East and ni Agricultural Africa. The Michkoche RI) in Tanzania Research Institute (MA to identify tics nos diag ing elop is dev l and eria mat n atio pag pro healthy

ts using transgenic cassava plan g genetic siRNA. Others explorin Virus Resistant modification include the CA) project, Cassava for Africa (VIR central Biosciences eastern and University Africa (BeCA Nairobi), the Africa) and of Witwatersrand (South h as the international partners suc US and ETH in the in ter Cen h fort Dan Switzerland. ontrol of IITA are investigating bioc t the various smi tran ch whi ies, tefl whi ltidisciplinary viruses and finally the mu enhancing is ject pro s Plu a BioCassav . tent con nutritional

a f r i agriculcan ture

fact sh eet

GOLDEN BANANAa banana to

prevent childhood blindness

Why? Vitamin A deficienci es are a leading cause of childhood blindness and bananas are a sta ple in the Ugandan diet. Who? Research teams at Uganda’s National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO ) and Queensland Universit y in Australia, including Dr. Andrew Kiggundu of NARO speaking on the panel today When? Supported by? The Bill and Melinda By the end of the dec Gates ade, provided Foundation biosafety laws are pas sed in Uganda that would allow the commercialisation of a GM crop

When? Trials have recently started of BioCassava Plus by the National Root Crop Research Institute in Nigeria Supported by? Various cassava projects are supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, t Science the Donald Danforth Plan oratory for Center’s International Lab technology Tropical Agricultural Bio and others.

Maruca-resist ant Bt the next GM


crop to be ad opted in Afric a?

Why? Cowpeas are to the Witchw Africa’s most eed parasite, important legume and th which can result in yield e main cash cro losses of betw p for the women smallho een 30 and 100%. lders who acco un over 90% of ag t for ricultural prod W he n? uc tion. Drought toleran t, it combines BT cowpea is with maize to prov expected to be ide a good ba available in 2017 in west lan ced protein intake. Africa, pending However, cowp the im ple mentation of ap ea plants are attacked by propriate biosa insect pests at laws in countrie fety every stage of the life s such as Nigeria cycle, reducing . yields by up to 95% Supported by . ? The Maruca-res Who? istant cowpea is being develop International res ed by an inter earchers are de national pu blic-private se veloping Bt cowpea, wh ctor consortiu ich has resistan m under a royalty free lic ce to the most destructiv ence. The Afric e pest the Legu an Agricultural Te me pod borer Maruca chnology Foun vitrata. Scientis dation (AATF) manag ts at the University of Vir es the project ginia have als and collaborates wi o identified a cowpea gene th the Networ that offers res k for the istance

Genetic Improv ement of Cowp ea for Africa (NGICA ), the Common wealth Scientific and Industrial Rese arch Organisation (C SIRO) Australi a, the Institute for Ag ricultural Rese arch (IAR) Zaria, Ni geria, the Sava nna Agricultural Re search Institute of the Council for Sc ientific and Ind ustrial Research (CSI R-SARI) Tamale , Ghana, the agricultural research institu te of Burkina Faso (INERA), the Int ernational Institute of Tro pical Agricultur e (IITA), the Kirkhouse Tru st, Program fo r Biosafety Systems (PBS ) and Monsant o, to develop, test and deploy th e Marucaresistant and farmer-preferre d cowpea varieties.

For more info rmation visit www.B4FA.o rg

The Biosciences for Farming in Africa (B4FA) project is committed to bridging the gap between science and the public by promoting better understanding and dialogue on developments in agriculture and biosciences throughout Africa. Information sources: World Bank, AGRA, Guardian, AATF, OFAB

African Agriculture Factsheet - B4FA  
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