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SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE IN AFRICA

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African Views

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In certain parts of Africa, famine has become endemic. Currently, the East African countries of Somalia and Ethiopia are experiencing a spell of famine owing to poor agricultural production arising out of drought.  One of the causes of famine and poor food production is the paucity of sustainable agriculture.

Sustainable agriculture is the farming practice that considers the relationships between the organisms in the land and their environment. It has also been described as: "an integrated system of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific application that will last over the long term:

  • Satisfy human food and fiber needs
  • Enhance environmental quality and the natural resource base upon which the agricultural economy depends
  • Make the most efficient use of non-renewable resources and on-farm resources and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls
  • Sustain the economic viability of farm operations
  • Enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole.”

Practices that ensure the continuous replenishment of the fertility of the land are observed. Without replenishment land loses its nourishment and the shifting cultivation practice in most of Africa does not do much to ensure the sustainable agriculture.

Obviously, much has to be done by farmers in Africa to ensure sustainable food production on the continent. Farmers must be ready to learn new methods of planting and raising animals for food. They must be educated to recycle for the continued nourishment of the patch of land they work and they must be made to understand that past practices would only serve to weaken the land and reduce produce.

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