The Millenium Development Goals and the African Food Crisis -Report from the Afrint II project

Göran Djurfeldt, Agnes Andersson, Hans Holmén and Magnus Jirström
Report from the Afrint II project / This report summarises research carried out among smallholders in nine countries in sub- Saharan Africa . The most salient, policy-relevant conclusions deal with maize, which is the biggest food crop in the region, and with seed-fertilizer technology, commercialisation and impacts of government policies. Some of the main findings are: Yield gaps are high. Ordinary farmers in the nine countries studied produce between 34 and 46% less per hectare than the 5% best producing farmers in the same village. Farmers who are using improved or hybrid seed and inorganic fertilizer produce 40 to 50% more per hectare than their peers. Facilitating for smallholders to participate in markets for food crops is likely to have strong dynamic effects on production. Changing trade policies, implying less dependence on imports of food crops, have had positive effects on domestic staple food production. Production increase of maize from 2002 to 2008 had a pro-poor profile and was largely the result of smallholders cornering a larger share of the maize market.pages:28