Africa Harvest is helping farmers to bulk large volumes of bananas for marketing and linking them to potential traders.
Photo: Africa Harvest

11.03.2014

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“There is plenty of innovation. The trick is to get it to the farmers,” it is often said when technology transfer to farmers, and smallholders in particular, is referred to. In addition to the financial resources, they often lack the knowledge needed to be able to benefit from the new technologies. The ‘whole value chain approach’ of the Africa Harvest organisation shows how technology transfer can work.

Africa is witnessing economic growth of unprecedented proportions, but it is also the only continent in the world where the total number of hungry people has gone up since 1990. The challenge to transform the vision of a food-secure Africa into reality is a daunting one. The continent will need to invest more in agriculture, create safety nets and social protection for the poor, guarantee the right of access to land and water resources and target smallholder famers and young people.

Africa Harvest, whose vision is to be a lead contributor in freeing Africa from hunger, poverty and malnutrition, believes the “game changer” will be the provision of seeds and clean planting material to farmers. However, when people talk about seeds in international and regional meetings, the focus is on grain, especially maize. Few think of food security crops such as vegetatively propagated crops like banana, sweet potato or cassava.

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