Comprehensive strategies are needed across Africa to use science and technology in ways that boost agricultural production and ensure that all Africans have enough food, according to a new report launched today at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
The study, entitled "Realizing the promise and potential of African agriculture: Science and technology strategies for improving agricultural productivity and food security in Africa," was compiled by the InterAcademy Council - an organization created by 90 of the world's science academies to provide expert knowledge to international bodies such as the UN.
According to the study, there is no single technological solution for the many problems facing agriculture in Africa. Instead, experts offer a number of concrete steps that the scientific community - working closely with farmers and representatives from Government and private industry - can take to avert famine and relieve suffering for millions of Africans in the future.
In remarks at the report's launch, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan noted that millions of children, women and men in Africa are malnourished and hungry. "A series of food crises on the continent has brought home to us the urgent need for a strategy to break the pattern of recurring crises and bring about a 'green revolution' in Africa," he said. "To achieve this, we need to mobilize the best scientists the world has to offer."
The IAC is headquartered at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in Amsterdam. Formed in 2000, its governing board is composed of the presidents of 15 national academies of science and equivalent organizations - representing Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, the Russian Federation, South Africa, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as the Third World Academy of Sciences.