Africa’s food security: Empowering smallholder farmers to boost maize productivity
Despite being Africa’s most important crop, providing about 30% of energy intake across the continent, numerous factors have been working against African smallholder farmers in their quest for higher maize yields. Issues range from the quality of seeds and the unpredictable returns on fertilizer investments to the availability of nutrients and water, pest control, labor, equipment, gender-specific challenges, value addition, market connections, and selling prices.
Governments across Africa have stepped in to safeguard maize production and self-sufficiency. Their strategies range from subsidizing production inputs to implementing various price protection schemes benefiting producers and consumers. However, some of these measures have faced criticism from development banks, leading to structural adjustments and fluctuations in supply and consumer prices. It becomes evident that technology access and adoption play pivotal roles, both at the individual farmer level and across entire regions.