Is the green revolution 2.0 a chance for Africa?

Africa spends $ 35 billion every year on food imports. This figure is expected to increase to 110 billion in 2025. And yet Africa has 65% of the world’s available arable land. There is a paradox in the economies of the continent, dependent on the outside world, while they have the potential to feed the world and to be self-sufficient. If there is a deficit, it is not on the resources side, but on their actual mobilization.

And if the key to this paradox lies in the modernization of agricultural techniques known as the Green Revolution 2.0? While the first green revolution was about mechanization, fertilizer and the selection of varieties suitable for extensive production, the new revolution is taking advantage of advances in digital technology and modern genomics to combine productivity, sustainability, and nutritional quality.
To fully understand the possibilities offered by this set of techniques, it is necessary to consider this green revolution in its broadest sense. Genetic engineering is a way to produce seeds that are resistant to drought, floods and pests. It also creates nutrient-rich seeds for populations with scarce crops. But other techniques are more about the issue of organizing agriculture in a sustainable manner, leaving aside aspects of genetic engineering in favor of irrigation regulation devices, insecticide replacement, management of yields by digital.

The genetic component of the Green Revolution 2.0 is the subject of controversy, including the ultimate goals and the control of possible drift – privatization of life, sterile seeds, possible toxicity of certain GMOs. Some associations and NGOs go so far as to question the relevance of the green revolutions, arguing that the one implemented in India in the 1960s had mainly perverse effects of specialization and quality decline of monocultures. However, this modernization of agriculture has made it possible to cope with an exponential demography, a crucial issue of our time, particularly for the African continent. Today, it is also that of quality that prevails, and available techniques allow for example to create seeds producing vitamins for deficient populations, resistant to pests usually devastating crops, surviving extreme weather conditions and that climate change will multiply in the future.

Organizational techniques based on digital tools represent, for their part, an even wider field of applications. They concern both the management of inputs, shared leasing of agricultural equipment, risk anticipation, yield optimization and energy consumption management, which are so important for the foundation of sustainable agriculture.
All these tools draw an agriculture combining yields and quality, intensiveness and durability. In Africa, the expected benefits are commensurate with the massive demand for a continent to play a growing role in world agriculture. To develop the possibilities, the private sector will play a key role in the investments and the implementation of all these new devices designed to ensure food security and build diversified and efficient export agriculture.

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