Farming on the continent alive with potential

Bloomberg | 24 February 2016


Ernst Janovsky, head of agribusiness at Barclays Africa, says curbs on foreign land ownership in many countries are the biggest deterrent to attracting foreign capital.
JOSEPHINE Mbinya bends from the waist to pluck beans from the black soil on her smallholding south of Nairobi. She throws them in a heap on the side of the field.
“We depend on the farm for all our needs,” says Mbinya, a widow who also farms tomatoes, maize and livestock to support her four children and a grandson. “When the harvest is not good, there is no food sometimes. The only way to survive is selling one of the animals.”
Like many of the 80% of Africa’s farmers who operate on less than 2ha land, Mbinya struggles with a lack of financing, proper irrigation, fertiliser and machinery. Land-ownership restrictions in some countries discourage large and small-scale farming alike. Overcoming those constraints will prove critical to help feeding a global population that the United Nations expects will balloon to 9.7-billion by 2050, from 7.3-billion.

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