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Frontiers of Agricultural Science and Engineering >> 2020, Volume 7, Issue 4 doi: 10.15302/J-FASE-2020357

Sustainable intensification of agriculture in Africa

Plant Production Systems, Wageningen University, 6700 AK Wageningen, the Netherlands

Received:2020-08-06 Accepted: 2020-09-10 Available online:2020-09-10

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Sustainable intensification is a key component of agricultural development in Africa, urgently needed to wean the continent off foreign food supply and to limit agricultural farmland expansion. It is expected that a relatively small fraction of farmers will adopt fertilizer technology, as profits in current economic settings are relatively small while risks are considerable with varying prices and uncertain yield responses. Many smallholders depend on off-farm income and local markets for food supply. Structural adjustments are therefore needed to allow management of larger units of land by trained farmers willing to take this opportunity, while recognizing land right sensitivities. There are large opportunities for African commodity crops to improve food security, including cassava and East African highland banana that strongly respond to fertilizer with limited environmental risks under good management. This requires investments in better functioning markets, local fertilizer production facilities that can produce regional crop blends and cost-efficient distribution networks, providing balanced fertilizers for African farmers.

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