Unless there is widespread adoption of sustainable agricultural intensification in Central Africa region, the future looks grim, according to Nteranya Sanginga, director general designate of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).
Speaking to journalists at a press conference on the opening day of the CIALCA conference, Challenges and opportunities for agricultural intensification of the humid highland systems of sub-Saharan Africa, in Kigali, Rwanda, today, Sanginga made the scale of the challenge in the region clear.
“In Rwanda and Burundi…we have almost 400 inhabitants per square kilometre. That’s huge. The question will be, can the land support the population we have?”
Without sustainable intensification of food production, there will be a high price, he continued.
“We will be going back to the situation of war – and not because of ethnicity – war for food, war for space. “
Delegates at the CIALCA conference are hearing about and sharing some examples of sustainable agricultural intensification in the Great Lakes Region of Africa.
Examples include the widespread adoption of high-yielding climbing beans in Rwanda to boost food production, dietary protein, and improve soil fertility, and efforts to intercrop high-value coffee plants, with staple crops like banana.
Hopefully, it is these kinds of innovations that can help steer the region towards a brighter future.