Cereal yields in sub-Saharan Africa must increase to 80 percent of their potential by 2050 to meet the enormous increase in demand for food. Above, Phillis Muromo, small-scale farmer in Zaka in Zimbabwe. Photo: J. Siamachira/CIMMYT
EL BATAN, Mexico (CIMMYT) — Cereal yields in sub-Saharan Africa must increase to 80 percent of their potential by 2050 to meet the enormous increase in demand for food, according to a new report.
Currently, sub-Saharan Africa is among the regions with the largest gap between cereal consumption and production, with demand projected to triple between 2010 and 2050. The study “Can Sub-Saharan Africa Feed Itself?” shows that nearly complete closure of the gap between current farm yields and yield potential is needed to maintain the current level of cereal self-sufficiency by 2050. For all countries, such yield gap closure requires a large, abrupt acceleration in rate of yield increase. If this acceleration is not achieved, massive cropland expansion with attendant biodiversity loss and greenhouse gas emissions or vast import dependency are to be expected.
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