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Legal Counsel for the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), Alhaji Tejan-Cole, explains what his organization is doing to help farmers in Africa increase productivity, profitability and sustainability to reverse the continent’s food deficit.
Experts have long agonized over how to produce higher crop yields and more nutritious foods from poor soils, to make food affordable for and accessible to Africa’s expanding population./p>
As African farming is largely smallholder-based and most farmers still use inefficient practices that take a lot from the soil but give little in return, the prognosis is gloomy. With the current faith in market-based solutions, many of them can only slip into deeper poverty and deprivation.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations says that every 10 percent increase in smallholder agricultural productivity in Africa can lift almost 7 million people above the dollar-a-day poverty line.
Proprietary technologies to improve the drought tolerance, pest and disease resistance, yield potential and nutrient content of food crops are already being exploited in developed countries, with research companies coming up with better technologies every day.
While most smallholders in Africa seem resigned to the hit-or-miss character of their livelihood, they are keen to adopt new proprietary technology options where the right incentives and market opportunities exist.
With this in mind, the AATF was established to help small-scale farmers access and use these proprietary technologies to attain food security and reduce poverty.