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close this bookSustaining the Future: Economic, Social, and Environmental Change in Sub-Saharan Africa (UNU, 1996, 365 pages)
close this folderPart 3: Environment and resource management
close this folderAgricultural development in the age of sustainability: Crop production
View the document(introductory text...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentThe ecological zones of Sub-Saharan Africa
View the documentGeneral crop production constraints and potentials for overcoming them
View the documentTechnologies with potential for sustainable resource management
View the documentWomen's underexploited potential
View the documentSuggested approaches to sustainable production
View the documentSummary
View the documentConclusions
View the documentAcknowledgements
View the documentReferences

Conclusions

1. Sub-Saharan Africa has more than enough biophysical resources to produce more food and other plants at sustained levels.

2. Research should be directed to exploiting existing biological complementarities in a holistic manner. Inorganic inputs should be used to complement, not to replace, biological inputs.

3. Post-harvest losses constitute a major source of productivity loss in Sub-Saharan Africa.

4. Since most crops in Sub-Saharan Africa are produced by women, gender issues are very important and should be addressed in developing plant production and utilization technologies.

5. Small-scale farming is not necessarily bad, and increased production does not necessarily call for increased farm size.

6. Given the adverse effects of mechanization in terms of the degradation of soil resources in the tropics, one must be cautious about introducing mechanization, especially because it is not a panacea for increased production and yield (see 5).

7. With serious effort and resource commitment, the perennial problem as regards water for crop production and for human needs could be resolved. This is an area in which investment probably could be made to pay, bearing in mind that some parts of California, Nevada, and Israel, for example, which produce surplus food, are in deserts.

8. Continued conservation of species diversity, especially some wild species, is advocated. What is wild today may find a use tomorrow.

9. The potential of biotechnology needs to be exploited through organized groupings of Sub-Saharan African regions to invest in gene-related research.