How Africa could feed the world
November 6th, 2012
10:35 AM ET

How Africa could feed the world

By Olusegun Obasanjo, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Olusegun Obasanjo is a former president of Nigeria and a member of the Africa Progress Panel, chaired by Kofi Annan. The views expressed are the author’s own.

Images of starving children, epitomised in news coverage from Ethiopia in the 1980s, have given Africa a reputation for famine that does an injustice to the continent’s potential.

It’s true that a recent report by three U.N. agencies said nearly 239 million in Africa are hungry, a figure some 20 million higher than four years ago. And recent crises in the Horn of Africa and Sahel certainly highlight the desperate uncertainties of food supply for millions – malnutrition still cuts deep scars into progress on health and education.

But the Africa Progress Panel and many others believe that Africa has the potential not only to feed itself, but also to become a major food supplier for the rest of the world

Consider, for example, Africa’s agricultural land. According to an influential recent analysis, Africa has around 600 million hectares of uncultivated arable land, roughly 60 percent of the global total.

And on the land that is being used, outdated technologies and techniques mean productivity is low. African cereal yields, for example, are just over one-third of the developing world average and have barely increased in 30 years. One major issue is that as much as 80 percent of Africa’s agriculture still depends on rain not irrigation.

So what should be done to increase agricultural productivity in Africa?

First, African and donor agricultural policies must focus on the smallholder farmers. Some African governments see the efficiencies of large scale commercial farming as a means to increase productivity. But Africa cannot increase its food production, create jobs and reduce poverty on the scale required without unlocking the potential of smallholder agriculture.

In addition, Africa’s rapidly growing youth population makes job creation an urgent matter for many of the continent’s governments. Already, nearly two out of three Africans depend on agriculture for their livelihoods.

And in countries such as Ethiopia and Kenya, agriculture is key to reducing poverty. In these countries, agricultural growth has been shown to reduce poverty twice as fast as any other sector.

Governments must invest in infrastructure that gives these smallholders better access to markets, including storage facilities to keep produce in good quality, and new and better roads. Governments must also invest in research and development to help smallholder farmers access new techniques and technologies such as drought resistant seeds. They should encourage innovations in information and communication technologies, which may also help to involve young Africans in the sector.

Second, African government s must deal with the land grab issue, as mentioned in an earlier article for this series by my fellow Panel member Michel Camdessus.

Population growth, a burgeoning global middle class, and the search for low-carbon energy sources mean that demand for food and biofuels has shot through the roof. Spotting profit opportunity, foreign investors are scrambling for a piece of the action. They rent land, use the latest agricultural methods (plus precious water from nearby sources), export the food, and make a fortune.

Africa has been at the epicentre of global land deals. Between 2000 and 2011, for example, Africa saw an estimated 948 land deals, covering 124 million hectares – an area larger than France, Germany, and the United Kingdom combined. Many of these transactions involve countries along the Nile and Niger rivers, whose water will be used to irrigate thirsty agricultural schemes. Typically, foreign investors win concessions at low rent and with extensive tax exemptions.

Contracts are often negotiated behind closed doors without consulting affected communities. Indeed, many of these schemes have seen local communities forcibly removed from their land.

Some deals have been complicated for investors, too. In Ethiopia, an armed group ambushed workers from a Saudi-owned agribusiness project, killing five. Analysts say the ambush in April 2012 was linked to the project’s plan to use large amounts of precious water from the nearby Alwero River, upon which thousands of people depend for their survival.

At the Africa Progress Panel, we support the combination of foreign expertise with local knowledge to increase production, generate jobs, and transfer technical know-how. But what Africa does not need, and cannot afford, is the use of African land and water by foreign investors who use Africa’s scarce resources to supply food and biofuels to other countries. And for Africans, the benefits of large-scale land acquisitions have been questionable.

Africa’s smallholder farmers need protection in such deals. The African Union should develop a framework for managing foreign investment in agriculture, and governments should assess large-scale land deals and consider a moratorium pending legislation to protect smallholder farmers.

Third, governments and others must help smallholder farmers manage risk more effectively. Crises in the Horn of Africa and Sahel have highlighted the risks faced by smallholder farmers, who are barely able to feed themselves and their families as it is.

Governments and donors should provide cash or food that enables rural producers to get through the difficult periods of drought, for example, without compromising long-term productivity or withdrawing their children from school. Governments and donors should help household enterprises reduce their dependence on agriculture.

Fourth, we want to see the international community devote more money and more effort to improving food security and nutrition in Africa, an issue that goes to the heart of so many other development challenges. By weakening a child’s resistance to disease, malnutrition is a major contributor to child mortality. A global study in 2008 found that an average one third of all child deaths were related to malnutrition.

The Panel welcome this year’s Camp David G-8 commitments to launch a New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. This New Alliance aims to lift 50 million people out of poverty over the next decade. And we will be watching eagerly when the United Kingdom assumes presidency of the G-8 next year.

Fifth, and finally, the international community should step up their support for climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Higher temperatures, increased water evaporation, less predictable rainfall, increased water stress and an expansion of drought zones is likely undermine production. Cassava and maize yields could fall by 15 percent and 30 percent respectively by 2050, for example. And research by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) suggests that climate change effects alone will push an additional 1 million children into malnutrition by 2030.

At the Africa Progress Panel, we hope these risks and the enormous opportunities of a growing global market will lead African governments to invest in agriculture and raise productivity. We fear that such risks could lead to a dramatic worsening of poverty and malnutrition among vulnerable communities.

But while rich countries have been spending billions of dollars on climate change adaptation, such as flood defenses, Africa has been receiving peanuts.

One recent study for Tanzania concluded that an annual investment of $100 million in adaptation for smallholders – encompassing support for small-scale irrigation, terracing, rural roads and research – would prevent annual losses of several hundreds of millions of dollars.

Consider that while the U.K. spends $1.2 billion annually on flood defenses, African nations receive just $100 million to $200 million for climate adaptation through the specialized multilateral funds created for this purpose. This amounts to what Desmond Tutu has aptly described as “adaptation apartheid.”

African leaders and their partners must all do more to shape the continent’s mighty farming potential. One day Africa could feed the world. But first it must feed itself.

 

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Topics: Africa • Economy

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soundoff (195 Responses)
  1. wadzamazhetese

    Reblogged this on forgetmenotafrica.

    November 6, 2012 at 10:52 am | Reply
    • RSmoke2012

      Africa has been exploited for it's people and natural resources throughout history which is unfortunate. The reason for this is not that Africa is it's own worst enemy it is that more advanced societies are taking advantage of less advances societies in Africa for material and financial gain with the trad-off being Africa losing precious resources. Where are the worlds oldest and largest universities? in Europe and the Americas. The educational knowledge to run advances civilization has historically been in places other then Africa. With the aforementioned there is a difference between doing what is in the best interest of a company and what is in the best interest of the local community or country you are working in. Let's take slavery for example, one can persuade or entice local tribe leaders with gold and things they want however the most likely did not understand the ramifications of what they were doing from a higher level perspective such as macro or micro economically, not to mention the long term effects of population reduction and hindering the advancement of their civilization from a third world country to a first world country...these are higher educational concepts. The saying that knowledge is power is true, it has the power do good and bad. Now that Africa is starting to have universities and some the best minds from across the globe help it, let's stop taking every natural resource we can from it and truly help it's people develop and advance. The amount of poverty and lack of advancement from a third world to first world society has to stop in Africa, it will take Africans to attain higher education in all areas of academia to ensure that policies, laws, and the governments truly do what is in it's best interest.

      November 9, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Reply
      • RSmoke2012

        I could have proofread this (and should have)...been a long day.

        November 9, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
      • kc

        There is the strange tendancy to only view African history after the colonial era. Africa has been highly fragmented tribaly,terrritorialy, etc,and from Eurasia ,and other more local disputes long before european rule. That is what made it ripe for colonial domination.That doesn't excuse it, but lets put history straight. Africa has to owe up to horrible human rights records at its own hands, including nations where traditional rule returned. Untill the many warring factions stop blamming all of its problems on everyone else there will never be real improvement. Revisionist history does not solve anything. If anything much of the strife is a sad example of the fight for resoursces that will plague the ever expanding needs of a overpopoulating industrialized world . It may be a baromometer of the struggle of societies scarcity of basic materials the future holds- without a better plan.

        November 10, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
      • Jimh77

        What must not be allowed is for companies like Moinsanto, Bayer, Dupont to stay out of Africa. They have devistated enough lands already with all their chemically created Genitics Crap. Africa has to be unfragmented before much can be done on any grand scale.

        November 11, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
      • rob

        Africa is not the only country that has been exploited but they are the only ones who haven't fought off or recovered like China, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, India, and etc. It takes a strong nation and will to use your resources so that everybody benefits. The concept of blood diamonds makes me laugh really hard.

        November 11, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • Bob Smith

      Or... or.. WE JUST EAT THE AFRICANS. Eh? Eh?

      November 10, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Reply
      • funny

        how to rob africa

        http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/peopleandpower/2012/11/201211714649852604.html

        November 11, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • David

      Without doubt Africa COULD feed itself – but it won't in the next 50 years, there are two big problems.

      1) Africans. Corruption, war, tribal and religious strife, traditions and population growth will prevent a stable economic and lawfull framework. Even if this is achieved small farmers working on a subsistence level will not feed the cities and shanty towns.

      2) Economics. Forget organic, biodynamic and all the other magical systems, within 3 years of cultivating virgin land you will need to buy fertilizers and crop protection chemicals, this will raise the production cost to at least that of western grown produce. The general population will not have the income to buy it, unless they have an industrialized way of earning much more.

      South Africa is probably best placed to lead the revolution but its own problems have worsened in recent years, why anyone would feel optimistic about the rest of the continent is beyond me.

      March 28, 2013 at 3:36 am | Reply
  2. 100 % ETHIO

    Hahahaha,
    For so long we criticised China, about everything, by hiding the reality behind the wall.

    With the big shock, now we came-out from wall and we keep saying China is growing. China got faster. China this, China that.....

    What happened for Africa now, might become similar to the saying to China.

    Technically, Africa keep feeding the whole World, mostly to the West. But, no record has been told through the Media.

    Mostly, the West placed its chosen leaders in Africa, to get free accesses of African resources-continually.

    The West owed Africa, too much.

    Why the West supplying Weapons to Africa??

    Too much fooling and Chemical attacks has been done against Africa and Africans.

    November 6, 2012 at 11:02 am | Reply
    • rodboy

      This is a crock – Africa is their own worst enemy and will be for YEARS TO COME.

      November 8, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Reply
      • ALAN FISCHER

        Africans should be instructed how to use a zipper.

        November 13, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • Lexx

      Africa has been feeding the world and supplying much wealth via the resources stolen by colonialist invaders. When you next see the grand mansions in England keep in ind that much of the wood used to build those houses was stolen from Africa. Also the wealth used to build those grand mansions was extracted from kidnapped and enslaved Africans. European invaders need to start creating their own wealth from European resources,and hard work, and quit stealing from Africa.

      November 9, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Reply
      • Lexx is an idiot

        Hey Lexx, explain to us all how they are still stealing from the African nations in such a massive way. Present day people should probably send $$ to the african americans to make ammends for the colonialist actions too I presume....your kind of mentality is simplistic and expected.

        November 9, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
      • M Hartley

        Talk nonsense Lexx. Have you ever even been to Africa and understood the African culture. Africa has so much potential still but only for the progressive kind of person who does not blame anyone else for their inability to get ahead,

        November 9, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
      • mensa141

        One need only look at the recent history of Rhodesia to see whom is the worst enemy of Africa. It is Africans themselves. Africans are a group more tribal than Arabs with neither of them being able to create anything on their own.

        November 11, 2012 at 11:43 am |
      • Tewrobert

        mensa141 is so right, Been there and seen it....Half of them think they get aids from the whiteman and the other half thinks they get it from the avacados....Any africa that can get a few bucks and a few followers together wants to be a Captain King or warlord.......I am not for putting any money in that bottomless pit.......

        November 11, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
  3. deep blue

    Great article. I wonder about knowledge resource opportunities. It seems to me that it is easy to provide low cost irrigation resources. It is difficult to get locals to install and maintain the irrigation systems. Information is the most most powerful resource and the most difficult to disperse.

    November 6, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Reply
    • rodboy

      The genocide and problems of under-educated people will over shadow the work for many generations. The idea there , let us make babies, fight and forget our responsibilities

      November 8, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Reply
    • must want to be helped

      My grandfather was an engineer who went over to Algeria decades ago for a few years to help villagers dig wells and build small-scale irrigation systems for their fields. He had the knowledge and shared it with the locals but ultimately made little progress. Why? The local shamans told the villagers the wells and irrigation were "unnatural" and they shouldn't use it. Many projects were abandoned.

      People cannot be helped if they don't want help and if they aren't instrumental in helping themselves. Most countries across Africa will be struggling for a very long time because they refuse to open their minds to change and they are deeply afflicted with a culture of graft. Africans need to stop screwing themselves over. Who sold that land to the foreign investors for personal profit? Africans. Who is selling all those blood diamonds? Who sells the bauxite and tantalum and other valuable minerals to foreign buyers while screwing the miners and landowners? Africans. Who captured and sold African slaves in the 18th and 19th centuries? Africans. There's blame all around but the finger always seems to point outwards. Until we see the flaws within ourselves, we can never make progress.

      November 11, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Reply
      • JLS639

        It is quite possible that he correctly understood the situation. However, North Africa has had a long history of overuse of ground water ruining farmland. In many cases, it was probably an engineer from the coast or Europe or the Middle East telling them that this would be fine, nothing to worry about and in a couple or three decades farmland has to be abandoned due to salininzation, wells run dry and the folks who put the system in are nowhere to be held accountable. You would not know that many areas of what are now Algeria, Tunisia and Libya were once the breadbaskets of southern Europe. A lot of the farmland will take decades or centuries to recover from what was done with well technology in the late 19th/early 20th centuries and the locals are well advised to be wary.

        November 11, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  4. Babalola Babajide

    This is a very apt piece, while one can not help but raise the question; what efforts did "Obasanjo" do in this regard when he was president, one must still ask; what is being done? Let's hope the right people see this and endevour to take advantage of the situation to make a change

    November 6, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Reply
    • Brit

      My sentiments exactly. Why didnt he do something when he was the president. Corrupt people only out to gain and not give back!.

      November 8, 2012 at 10:23 am | Reply
    • littlejohn

      My guy didn't win either but right wingnuts need to get over it.

      November 8, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Reply
      • Bill In The Desert

        One wonders who is the wing nut, given your post.

        November 8, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
  5. niyi akintade

    "Second, African government s must deal with the land grab issue,". I totally agree with OBJ, in Nigeria.for instance, govt.own all d land without recourse to d natives who often resort to violence to restate their rights over their ancestral lands.

    November 6, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Reply
    • NickZadick

      Since when has the letter d replaced the word "the" ??

      November 8, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Reply
      • Michael

        The same day "Za" replaced "the."

        November 9, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
      • 2Bob

        I think Michael got you there:-)

        November 13, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
  6. j. von hettlingen

    Africa is in an enviable position to own some "600 million hectares of uncultivated arable land, roughly 60 percent of the global total". Hard labour, heavy investment in infrastructure and efficient planning would no doubt help improve the conditions to develope these lands.

    November 7, 2012 at 3:51 am | Reply
    • Quigley

      You forgot to mention j.von hettlingen, that we need somehow to get the U.S., Great Britain and France to quit meddling into the affairs of these countries too. Without Western interference, most African countries stand a better chance at feeding themselves as well as the rest of the world.

      November 7, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Reply
      • doughnuts

        Bunk. They need to bring back the Colonial powers to get anything done.

        November 8, 2012 at 11:57 am |
      • Greenie

        When you mention that we (USA) needs to stop meddling, does that mean quit financially supporting them? Our country spends BILLIONS ever year in foreign aide. For what reason? All the aide that has been generously given to them has gone to no avail! Nothing has ever changed. They don't deserve our money!
        From an anthropological stand point all of human kind originated from that continent. They have the oldest genome's known to science today. Why can't they get it together on their own?
        Let them starve! Save our money and put it back into our country! They don't deserve our foreign aide in the first place.

        November 11, 2012 at 2:20 am |
      • Johnny

        Then why do I keep seeing these tv ads always asking "ME" in NorthAmerica to send money to feed their people?

        November 11, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • rodboy

      Lest we forget, they need to stop burning it, and kil ling off the farmers. Some places never CHANGE we were talking about this in 1960 in CIVICS class. We will be talking about this next generation as well.

      November 8, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Reply
    • Varghese John

      As i see it from here in India i guess most of the African countries seem to be indulging in groups fighting one another.This must stop.To peruse any kind of development there is a need for a condusive atmosphere.The African Union must play a role or a more proactive Organisation to Promote African unity must materialise.United Africa can face upto the exploitation by foreign powers and follow a path of mutual give and take vis-a-vis developmental agencies,inflow of foreign technology and capital from outside.And above all the African people must have a steely resolve to help themselves with integrity and hard work to build up the infrastructure.Self-help groups must be formed from the village leve, everywhere.Every thing need not wait for some big bang thing to happen.Small efforts by individuals/families on a National scale can make a huge difference.United we stand.Divided we fall.God Bless Africa!

      November 10, 2012 at 8:12 am | Reply
    • old golfer

      And just who is going to do that hard labor that you speak of? Not a lot of hope for that to happen.

      November 11, 2012 at 9:27 am | Reply
  7. Research for Development

    What a joke! Obasanjo speaking about land grabbing. He certainly is an authority on the matter – that is as a land grabber himself. Recently, he proudly brought US's Dominion Farms, operating a much criticized rice farm in Kenya's Yala Swamp, to Nigeria's Taraba State. A deal for 30,000 ha of land. Worst of all, he is the owner of Obasanjo Farms that in 2002 acquired 10,000 ha of land in Cross River State for oil palm cultivation. Not only was the deal highly illegal – being located within a Forest Reserve and National Park, which to date have not been de-reserved – but evicted large numbers of small-scale farmers from their farmlands. Compensation has never been paid and an EIA assessment was never done – ignoring multiple laws in the process And here he is talking about condemning land grabbing while during his presidency he took such advantage of his power to acquire land for his own businesses.

    November 7, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Reply
    • farah

      he probably had an assistant write this piece.

      November 8, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Reply
  8. Research for Development

    More info relating to the above post below.

    Dominion:
    http://www.vanguardngr.com/2011/08/obasanjo-leads-prospective-american-investors-to-taraba/

    Obasanjo Farms:
    http://www.newswatchngr.com/editorial/prime/2002/09092002/cover10910203805.htm
    http://www.piratetv.net/rrdc/news/letters/memo1002.htm

    November 7, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Reply
  9. J.E. Parker

    Reblogged this on Leadatrium and commented:
    A manifesto for African leaders; one key players must gather around, form a think-tank as we begin solving tomorrow's problems today. Well done OBJ!

    November 7, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Reply
  10. Great China

    Bring back the great powers managing the African nations as colonies. Once they left these countries, it all fell apart. Allowing for the upgraded treatments of the native population, these people will be much better off. Modernization of Africas infrastructure will be necessary. This benefits the country and the native population. Left to fend for itself Africa has no hope of ever modernizing or benefitting the populace. Until this occurs Africa will continue to live the 3rd world standards.

    November 8, 2012 at 9:49 am | Reply
  11. Aristocles

    Until Africa can feed itself, it cannot talk about feeding the world.

    November 8, 2012 at 9:53 am | Reply
  12. WVLady63

    Africa can't feed its starving millions and yet, there is obviously no form of birth control that is needed desperately! Give these people birth control to stem the over-populating! National Geographic had a picture in one of their publications and it showed an african woman, carrying a starving baby, pregnant with another one and three little starving children following her, THIS IS REPREHENSIBLE AT BEST! She keeps having babies and they starve to death before they are three years old!!!! Birth control is NEEDED! Stop asking America to feed these people, STOP THEM FROM MULTIPLYING!!!!!

    November 8, 2012 at 10:14 am | Reply
    • SheilaG

      Birth control was sent to Africa once and it was found the men were taking the pill not the women. Education is needed to improve this nation.

      November 8, 2012 at 11:30 am | Reply
      • MD

        this nation?
        That just goes to show that you have never been to Africa, you do not know anything about Africa and you, therefore, do not have any right to say anything about Africa.
        AFRICA IS A CONTINENT.
        Thank you very much.

        November 10, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  13. JohnG

    Africa already fed the world... When it was colonized by European countries, the Europeans stole and possessed most of it's natural resources for Europe. I think It's about time Africa was allowed to feed itself and we stop taking from Africa.

    November 8, 2012 at 10:50 am | Reply
  14. Bob

    This is a frightening idea. What we need is to aggressively stop population growth in every country. The idea of turning Africa into a farm for the world is a disaster waiting to happen. Birth control – that is what we need.

    November 8, 2012 at 11:30 am | Reply
  15. KD

    oh now is all the wildlife going to have to be killed off so every fricking square inch can be planted? there are too many people on the planet already. not enough jobs for everyone so there is suffering due to economics. leave the last wild places alone – everything does not have to be destroyed and used up. leave it alone.

    November 8, 2012 at 11:38 am | Reply
    • Carole Clarke

      What is frightening is that mainland China is thinking of ending its one-child policy. They are already crowding their overpopulation into Central Asia, pushing out peoples who have lived there for thousands of years. And there is ittle water out there! If China goes back to normal reproduction it will be a natural catastrophe. They can barely feed themselves now.

      November 8, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Reply
  16. doughnuts

    Bring back Colonialism. That's the only way Africa will become anything besides the money-pit it is now.

    November 8, 2012 at 11:53 am | Reply
  17. Patrick W

    The solution is not colonialism but RESPONSIBLE leardership and investment. there is no reason we cannot improve the economic status of africa and benefit from exports in the future. It is a win win for everyone.

    November 8, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Reply
  18. Carole Clarke

    It could do alot to feed the world but not as long as tribalism and lack of education and opportunity prevails. It would take a cold, western-type infrastructure to do that and if you mix in political Islam, it just can't succeed. Shame.

    November 8, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Reply
  19. chelley

    It would be great if Africa could at least grow enough food to feed its own people. Starvation is a disgusting way to die.

    For this to happen, the people would have to end their tribal mentality. They haven't been able to that for ast long as history has records.

    I wish them luck, but how is it possible for a country/countries that have been established for several thousand years to still be so backward and poverty stricken when a nation like the US is only 300 years old. to be so prosperous?

    November 8, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Reply
  20. tom

    Does anybody remember such an African country like Rhodesia? No more comments – Period

    November 8, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Reply
    • Jim

      – Very good example about Rhodesia! It used to be well established state with strong economy, fierce local-born black and white patriots. As soon as white government fell, all went straight to hell. All land from white farmers was expropriated in favour of new "president's" supporters. What a nice example of African leadership...

      November 9, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Reply
  21. someone

    Evolution takes its toll... their genes are 3 million years behind us.. they can not feed them self ... how someone can think they can feed someone else.. so much help went to Africa in money cloth education machines...... their genes are no on par with ours. EVOLUTION ..... they will get there eventually .........

    November 8, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Reply
  22. Shortsighted

    This article is incredibly shortsighted as many idealistic ideas are. The world is already overpopulated and you propose creating yet more people. It never ceases to amaze me how someone says we should help others without a long term plan. I'm 35. I grew up watching Ethiopians starving on the TV. The world would step in, throw a bunch of food at them, and watch them create more mouths they could not feed.

    It's funny. Purify their water. Give them more food. Teach them to irrigate.

    WHAT ABOUT BIRTH CONTROL!!!? Why don't you give them the education to live sustainably?

    You need to face it. Half the time you people do more harm than good.

    November 8, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Reply
    • Johnny

      Shortsighted : I'm 66 yrs. old and I've been watching the same thing you saw 35 yrs. ago. And will still seeing the same thing today. And we will probably(no most definetly) see this same crap 60 yrs. after I'm gone.

      November 11, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Reply
  23. justme

    i always thought that maybe all of Africa would benefit of growing and cultivating Nopales..this vegetable survives different climates...except snow..healthy and used a lot in Mexico..

    November 8, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Reply
  24. jimnbelize

    AND IS THIS ARIABLE LAND IN THE AREAS WHERE ENDANGRED WILDLIFE LIIVES? Let's kep africa wid and untamed. Animals have to have have to have a place to live too. Human beings are a rapacious species. Let.s try a little international birt control and reduce the human population for a change.

    November 8, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Reply
    • lg michigan

      My thought, too. Not a peep of what comprises all this uncultivated acreage. Most likely, jungle and savanna lands that are the last stands for the magnificent African wildlife. That, too, will be lost in the greed grab. I'm getting so sick of the human race . . .

      November 11, 2012 at 9:18 am | Reply
      • Johnny

        lg Michigan: Have you ever seen the life of a hIppo? They live next a pool of water ,or live right in it. They eat ,wallow,and pee and crap in the same place for,forever.....They don't do nothing but exist. I want to keep an animal like that going for forever?,when that land could be used for a creature with at least half a brain. Evolution happens and just like the dinasour they're time has come. And ,you can replace the word hippo with anything you want.....thankyou...

        November 11, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
  25. Oreste Ona.

    The solution is simple. On 2016, Obama should move over there and help his roots. Or not?

    November 8, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Reply
  26. tony

    There was once a country in Africa called Rhodesia that fed much of the continent until something happened, can't remember what though....

    November 8, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Reply
    • tom

      It would be politically incorrect to remind you what happened there...

      November 12, 2012 at 11:10 am | Reply
  27. William

    Africa needs to feed it's self before it can feed the world. But it is possible for Africa to feed the world using the technology we have today. I designed a water project in Botswana most of which has not been used yet but the same water project could be used in other countries in Africa.

    November 8, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Reply
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