She is the face of the African farmer: The hardworking woman with a child on her back, tilling the land with a hoe to harvest barely enough to feed her children, who she worries do not get enough to eat.
It is a challenge recognized by both the 2014 Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium and this year's world food day theme "Family Farming: Feeding the World, Caring for the Earth" that calls for a renewed focus on family farming. In Africa, this finally includes the most important players -- almost 25 million small scale family farmers who produce eighty percent of the continent's food each year. Most of the reported hunger, malnutrition and poor health is seen among these families.
To secure this commitment, the Africa Union declared 2014 to be the year of agriculture in Africa, with a goal of increasing food productivity through agricultural growth. This promotes use of high yield seeds, soil sciences and appropriate technologies while generating demand for agriculture produce markets. In principle, anticipated agriculture growth is expected not only to increase food security but also through poverty reduction improve Nutrition at the households' level.
Realizing this vision would put Africa on the road to solving the greatest challenge in human history: how to sustainably feed 9.7 billion people globally by 2050. With the largest global workforce by 2040 and 65 percent of the world's usable, uncultivated arable land, the continent has what it takes. But to do this, Africa must completely rework the African agriculture sector.
It can be done.