BY MIKE COHEN AND ERIC OMBOK
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.