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New book: "From fed by the world to food security. Accelerating agricultural development in Africa"

Published on
November 18, 2019

Last week Henk Breman and Tom Schut presented their new book: “From fed by the world to food security. Accelerating agricultural development in Africa”. In a short presentation Henk Breman touched upon some highlights of the work. Michael Hailu, director of CTA, and Niek Koning, associate at the Centre for Sustainable Development and Food Security and emeritus assistant professor of the Agricultural and Rural Policy Group at Wageningen University, were invited to initiate the discussion by reflecting shortly on the work.

The book is a tool for policy makers and their advisers, both in and beyond Africa, interested in furthering socio-economic development by investing in agriculture development. It provides a comparative analysis of agricultural development and agricultural policies in almost all African countries since 1960, and identifies socioeconomic and agro-ecological determinants for success or failure. The authors claim that fertilizer use is the silver bullet in the quest for greater food security, welfare and economic development on the continent.

The book presents reasons for optimism. Agricultural development is taking off; in quite a few countries the increase in food production outstrips the population growth. However, in other countries food security is not or not sufficiently improving. Still one quarter of the African population is living in countries where crop yields have remained the same, or even have decreased, since the 1960s. This emphasizes the need to develop and support effective policies which can help accelerate agricultural development. Promoting sustainable fertilizer use should be a first step. The analysis is interspersed with examples and photographs from a wide range of countries. Almost thirty countries have been visited by at least one of the authors.

Ken Giller, head of the chair group, commented on the book: “Nowhere in the World is the SDG agenda more relevant and urgent than in Africa. The present analysis is an important contribution to the debate on the future of Africa – and to achieving SDG2. I strongly commend this report to you and encourage you to delve deeper than just the abstract. Read on!”

The book can be downloaded through this link: https://edepot.wur.nl/498300