Agriculture is an important sector in Africa. Most people, especially the vulnerable, depend on agriculture for their living. Despite availability of arable soils and water resources in some parts, the continent still imports a lot of food. Development strategies in the region have not managed to harness the full potential of agriculture, ensuring not only adequate food production, but also economic and social development.
Agricultural incomes continue to decline and unsustainable management techniques in agriculture and natural resources have become a growing concern, threatening the resource base of the region. As a result, Africa experiences food insecurity, land degradation and the overall challenge of entrenched and widespread poverty.
The challenges faced by the South African agriculture sector require multifaceted structural reforms (such as land reform), technological interventions, adoption of agricultural policies that favour smallholder farmers, and other economic and political governance responses. These responses must be based on the identification of best practices in the region and on learning from other regions.
Innovative solutions in agricultural food production and marketing are needed, which are adaptable to the prevailing socio-economic and environmental circumstances.
The Covid-19 Lockdown in South Africa has had a devastating impact on access to food by families and communities across the country. The prolonged crisis has also had an immeasurable impact on subsistence and smallholder farmers who already have limited access to inputs, transportation, finance, and extension services.