Planned agriculture critical for Africa’s economic growth

University of Pretoria professor, James Blignaut called on Africans to make use of natural resources like land to attain food security to avert diseases, malnutrition, poverty and a serious loss in self-esteem. “Africans not only suffer from a lack of monetary resources, but also from a series of compounding circumstantial impacts. Some of these are reduction in land productivity and increased crop failures because of wrong land management practices and the need for land to reside on,” said Blignaut in the latest issue of farming magazine, The Farm Africa. He said lack of formal energy sources led to the harvesting of wood for energy purposes, which led to loss of biodiversity, vegetation cover and eventually land degradation, desertification, erosion and further loss in the productive capacity of the land. Blignaut said these problems were being compounded by the increased prevalence and impact of HIV/Aids, adding that an integrated provision programme of food, water and energy and strategic agriculture would be a solution to the problems. Within sustainable agriculture, of which aspects such as conservation farming were extremely valuable, water harvesting, the efficient use of water and the improvement in both quality and quantity of water were important considerations, he said. Sustainable agriculture was also a good source for developing indigenous knowledge systems through the advancement and promotion of medicinal plants and edible fruits and other products from the wild It had the potential to diffuse conflict among people and cultures and to contribute to environmental renewal since it is about land management, the appreciation of land and draws people back to their roots. ‘

April 2006
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