Can Africa feed the World? : land acquisitions as a solution to global food security
Sammanfattning: Ensuring food security for 9 billion people is one of the biggest challenges facing humanity in the 21st century. Crop production needs to double by 2050 to keep up with demand from increasing population and income growth. Through analysis of the GRAIN database detailing land acquisitions in Africa for food production, I answered the question: are land acquisitions a solution to global food security? The main findings of the research were that 53% of the land is acquired for the production of flexible crops (crops used interchangeably for food, fuel and other purposes). The most popular crop groups were cereals and oil crops which together are grown on over 50% of land acquisitions. Oil palm is the largest single crop grown on land acquisitions, with 17% of land designated for its production. Oil palm is produced on an area 1 million hectares larger than for any other crop. The acquisitions of land for cereal production could potentially produce 9-18 million tonnes, which is 7-14% of the current cereal production quantity of Africa. However analysis of the intercrop yield (yield difference between two crops) shows that land acquisitions could increase total calorie production from cereals by 20%, largely by switching from growing wheat and rice in Eastern and Western Africa to producing maize and sorghum. The results show that large proportions of crops that are produced on land acquisitions are not a primary source of calories for diets and are being produced for the highest price. Crops which are grown for the food purposes are likely to be exported out of Africa to meet the demands of investor nations somewhat at the expense of host countries and communities. For these two main reasons land acquisitions are not seen to be reducing food insecurity. This papers uses kcal/ ha as a measure of food supply in agricultural production and I argue that traditional yield indicators only measure agriculture in terms of trade. This paper highlights the importance of finding new agricultural indicators that do not measure agriculture in terms of trade by food supply.
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