November 9

Analysis: Regenerative Agriculture Seen as Answer to Averting Africa’s Growing Food Crisis

By Mark Hillsdon

More than 65% of Africa’s land is considered degraded, and the risk of further desertification grows by the day. Crops now wither in the once fertile fields of northern Ghana, as prolonged droughts dry up water courses, while the mountain forests of Kenya, known as its “water towers”, have been stripped back and denuded by agriculture and logging. In Sudan, the arid climate and poor irrigation mean that more than 500,000 hectares are now affected by salinisation.

A vicious circle of unsustainable farming, which exacerbates climate change and leads to further extreme weather events, is behind the degradation of Africa’s soils. Western farming techniques, which may have yielded crops and vast profits for the last century or more, are now being found wanting, as more and more inputs are needed to repair soils that have become barren and eroded.

Livestock and poor soil management continue to increase agriculture’s carbon footprint, too. It is an environmental catastrophe that also brings human misery: according to the World Economic Forum, 228 million people in Africa face chronic hunger.

Photo courtesy of Wesley Tingey.

Source: Reuters (link opens in a new window)

climate change