Traditional agricultural practices need upgrading
The agricultural sector has traditionally been essential to Africa’s economy and way of life. Agriculture is the largest industry in Africa, employing around 60% of the continent’s workforce and providing sustenance and financial stability to tens of millions of families. Traditional agricultural approaches, however, are not enough to completely transform Africa’s agricultural sector into a modern, productive one.
Agricultural techniques that have been handed down through the generations and are grounded in local knowledge and customs are considered traditional. Among these methods are switching between crops, called “crop rotation,” and using organic fertilisers. These methods may have helped sustain agriculture in the past, but they simply aren’t up to the task of solving the problems currently plaguing Africa’s agricultural sector.
The rising demand for food is one of the key reasons why traditional agricultural approaches in Africa cannot transform agriculture. The demand for food in Africa is predicted to skyrocket as the continent’s population doubles by 2050. Low yields from conventional farming methods mean they can’t keep up with the rising demand. Organic fertilisers, for instance, are better for the planet, but they also result in lower crop yields than the synthetic fertilisers employed in modern agriculture. Traditional farming methods are not efficient enough for commercial agriculture.
Access to innovative agricultural practices
The lack of access to contemporary technologies and procedures is another reason why traditional agricultural practises cannot revolutionise African agriculture. While traditional methods have been helpful in maintaining agriculture, they do not make use of contemporary innovations like mechanisation, hybrid seed technology, or precision farming. It is well documented that the use of these cutting-edge tools improves output while decreasing expenses and raising profits. Without these tools, African farmers will never be able to catch up to their global competitors in terms of output and efficiency.
Furthermore, conventional farming methods are susceptible to climate change impacts. Traditional methods in Africa, one of the regions hardest hit by climate change, are inadequate to meet the new difficulties that have arisen as a result. Examples of extreme weather include an increase in the frequency of droughts and other situations that make conventional farming methods ineffective. Conservation farming and drought-resistant crop varieties are only two examples of how modern agriculture is adapting to climate change.
Traditional farming is labor-intensive
On top of that, traditional farming methods are typically labor-intensive and reliant on the usage of family labour. There are fewer people willing to work in agriculture since more and more people are moving to cities throughout Africa. Traditional agricultural approaches involve a lot of manual effort, which is why their adoption is hampered by a lack of workers.
Lastly, the market orientation needed to produce for the global market is often missing from conventional agriculture approaches. The vast majority of African farmers are subsistence farmers who raise food for their own families and sell any excess on the local market. Poor crop quality from conventional farming methods prevents farmers from reaping the economic rewards of selling their wares abroad.
While traditional farming methods can help keep farms running, they aren’t enough to make Africa’s agricultural sector competitive in the global market. Precision farming, mechanisation, and the use of hybrid seeds are just a few examples of the modern agricultural practises needed to keep up with the rising global demand for food, boost productivity and efficiency, and mitigate the consequences of climate change. Traditional methods will never completely disappear from Africa’s agricultural landscape, but they must be paired with more cutting-edge methods to bring about the required change.