With over 60% of the world’s uncultivated arable land located in Africa, the continent has the potential to become a major agricultural powerhouse. Unfortunately, many African farmers still face difficulties getting their hands on markets, input supply, and good infrastructure, all of which reduce their capacity to maximise their profits. Here are 5 ways energy and infrastructure can transform African agriculture:
Power for irrigation systems
Without consistent energy, farmers have a difficult time irrigating their crops, which is a major bottleneck in the food production process. If the necessary infrastructure and energy were in place, the International Water Management Institute predicts that as much as half of Africa’s total potential irrigable territory might be developed using only one percent of the continent’s total water resources. Increased agricultural yields and lessened vulnerability to the effects of climate change are two side effects of installing electric-powered irrigation systems.
Renewable energy in manufacturing and warehousing
Due to inadequate storage and processing capacity, African farmers frequently lose a sizable amount of their product. Post-harvest losses can be minimised and food security can be enhanced through the use of renewable energy solutions like solar-powered dryers and storage facilities. Milling machines and threshers powered by renewable energy can also assist small-scale farmers boost the value of their crops and their revenues.
Access to markets via digital infrastructure
African farmers can benefit from improved market access, buyer connections, and market data thanks to the expansion of digital infrastructure in the region. Farmers can use mobile phones and the internet to get up-to-date information on market prices, weather forecasts, and the availability of inputs like fertiliser and seeds. Farmers can use this data to make better decisions and increase their market share, which should increase their incomes.
Enhanced market access through better transportation
The lack of a reliable and efficient transportation network is a major obstacle to the growth of Africa’s agricultural sector. Due to insufficient transit alternatives and deteriorating road systems, many farmers have a hard time getting their products to market. By decreasing the amount of time and money needed to move goods from their farms to the nearest market, better roads and railway networks can aid farmers in minimising post-harvest losses.
Conservation agriculture techniques
Greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced and agricultural sustainability in Africa can be enhanced through the implementation of energy-efficient practises. Conservation agriculture techniques, such reduced tillage and crop rotation, can improve agricultural yields while decreasing energy use and soil degradation. Drip irrigation is one example of an energy-efficient irrigation technique that can help farmers save money and resources without sacrificing crop production.
In conclusion, investing in electricity and infrastructure could be the deciding factor in Africa’s agricultural revolution. Increased productivity, lower post-harvest losses, easier access to markets, and higher revenues for small-scale farmers are just a few of the many benefits of investing in energy and infrastructure development. Africa’s farmers can’t reach their full agricultural potential without joint investments from governments and the business sector in these crucial areas.