Aerospace technology could enable farmers to produce more with less
By Neels Blom
Strictly speaking, this article should be about the aerospace industry and how it could facilitate socioeconomic transformation in Africa, but it isn’t. It is about agriculture and how the aerospace industry is expected to transform farming, and it is about agriculture because socioeconomic transformation in Africa cannot happen unless agriculture is transformed.
In the widely quoted yet unimplemented Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) prepared for Nepad (the New Partnership for Africa’s Development and now the development agency of the AU) in the early 2000s, African agriculture was characterised as in crisis by leading agencies, the World Food Programme among others.
Very little has changed. While agriculture accounts for more than 60% of all African jobs, it contributes only about 15% of its GDP. Africa has 65% of the planet’s uncultivated arable land yet it spends $35bn a year on food imports. This is likely to rise to $110bn by 2025, as estimated in a new survey-based study commissioned by aviation company Airbus.
Photo courtesy of Neil Palmer.