Precision Agriculture (PA) is a farming methodology that uses data and technology to optimize input management, making farming more efficient and productive. This article shows how accuracy promotes success by presenting the different precision agriculture technologies, their applications, and their key benefits. In the United States, advanced farming technologies are widely adopted. Over 25% of peanut farms use GPS soil mapping, and more than 40% use auto-steering. In rice farms, about 60% use yield monitoring technology, and approximately 55% use auto-guidance systems. In Europe, adoption is slightly lower for guidance technology, and variable rate technology for fertilizers (referring to adjusting inputs based on data analysis to tackle soil and crop variations) is lacking in many places (2021). Several factors consistently have a positive influence, such as technology adoption, larger farms, formal education, farm ownership, sufficient financial resources, computer literacy, full-time farming, and field variations. On the other hand, a farmer’s age has a negative impact on technology adoption. Precision farming involves various steps, including data collection on soil, crops, and yield, data analysis, applying specific treatments based on the analyzed data, recording and processing application data, and storing the data for future reference and analysis. Precision agriculture technologies and applications Technologies Precision agriculture technologies have revolutionized modern farming practices, leveraging innovations such as GPS-guided tractors and drones for aerial imaging. These advancements enable farmers to optimize crop management, reduce resource waste, and enhance overall agricultural productivity. Key precision agriculture technologies include: GPS: Enables precise application of inputs based on location, avoiding waste and conserving water. Data Collection: Utilizes on-site sensors, satellites, drones, and weather stations to gather soil, crop, weather, and location data. Intra-field Diagnosis: Crop sensing and mapping aid in site-specific management decisions, optimizing resource usage. Automatic Variable-Rate Treatments: Ensure targeted resource application, meeting production and environmental goals. Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS): Provide precise guidance and control for efficient field operations. Geospatial Technologies: Geographic Information System (GIS), remote sensing, and in situ; a type of sensing that is done close to the phenomena of interest, monitors crops, and aids decision-making. Remote Sensing: Uses aerial cameras to estimate soil properties, guiding better agricultural practices. With the aid of the above technologies, precision agriculture optimizes resource usage, reduces environmental impact, and enhances productivity. Applications The technologies stated above are reflected in the following applications: Precision Input Management: Aims to optimize the use of crop inputs, reduce waste, and ensure environmental sustainability. Field machines equipped with Navigation Geographic Information Systems can collect high-resolution data for detailed crop management. Auto-steering Global Navigation Satellite System [GNSS]-controlled tractors minimize overlap, and map-driven seeding matches plant populations with soil conditions based on historical crop yield. Smart irrigation systems manage water usage in real-time, enhancing farm productivity and sustainability. Variable Rate Technology (VRT): Aims to apply inputs at variable rates based on data analysis to address soil and crop variations. VRT uses maps or sensors to adjust input concentrations during application. The adoption of VRT is growing rapidly, offering farmers more efficient and precise resource utilization. GPS Guidance Systems: This application implements GPS for precise navigation of agricultural machinery. Automated guidance systems relieve operators from continuous steering adjustments and reduce errors, fatigue, and environmental impact. Foam markers and parallel-tracking devices aid in navigation, while advanced auto-steer systems can automatically steer the vehicle. Yield Mapping: Creates maps displaying crop yield variations within fields. Modern combine harvesters are equipped with yield monitors, enabling farmers to assess crop performance and generate geo-referenced yield maps for comparisons and management decisions. Resource Conservation: The key objective is to minimize resource use and prevent environmental impact. Conservation Agriculture (CA) practices reduce input consumption and externalities. CA focuses on reducing soil erosion, water waste, and chemical runoff and promoting sustainable farming practices. Precision agriculture holds significant importance Precision agriculture offers various benefits, including healthier crops and increased production. By reducing the use of fertilizers, water, and pesticides, this technology enables proper crop management and maximizes land use. This is crucial given the current global situation, as agriculture faces immense pressure to meet the needs of a projected 10 billion people by 2050, requiring a 98% increase in food production. Additionally, agriculture accounts for over 70% of global freshwater use, with about half of it wasted. PA's ability to reduce costs and environmental impact makes it an essential tool to address future challenges, especially in the context of the world's climate crisis. Southern Alberta illustrates this issue - the region, located in the Canadian province of Alberta, is home to the country's largest irrigation farming system, accounting for 68% of all irrigated land in the country. It is renowned for its highly productive and fertile agricultural land, making it a significant agricultural area in Canada. Farmers in this region have widely adopted precision agriculture (PA) technologies. These technologies have consistently shown positive effects on agricultural sustainability, reducing the use of irrigation water, fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides, leading to more sustainable farming practices. Cristopher and Lorraine Nicole’s study in the region shows reductions in farm inputs. Among the irrigation districts, the most significant percentage decline was observed in the utilization of irrigation water, with reductions ranging from 21% to 26%. Decreases in the application of fertilizers varied from 15% to 22%, herbicide use declined by 14% to 17%, and pesticide usage showed reductions from 13% to 20%. Environmental benefits Precision Agriculture (PA) is a key solution to the challenge of meeting the world's growing food demand while ensuring environmental sustainability. PA uses data collection and advanced technologies to optimize farming efficiency and resource allocation. This leads to reduced inputs, lower costs, and increased profits for farmers, while also benefiting the environment by minimizing harmful run-off and conserving water. PA's positive impact has garnered significant investment and is crucial in building a sustainable and efficient agricultural system for the future. Economic benefits Precision Agriculture is not only beneficial for the environment but also has significant social and economic implications. Smallholder farmers make up about 90% of farmers in many parts of the world; they represent a significant portion of the farming community and therefore play a vital role in ensuring food security. However, they face challenges that hinder their sustainability and livelihoods. By adopting PA, these farmers can transform their farms into profitable and sustainable ventures. With increased productivity and better market access, they can improve their livelihoods and support their families. Not only would this lead to a better quality of life, but it would also contribute to food security by increasing the amount of food produced. PA offers a promising pathway to empower and uplift smallholder farmers, enabling them to thrive in the changing agricultural landscape. The soybean challenge confronting American farmers offers a compelling illustration of how precision agriculture can potentially enhance yields and aid farmers in achieving financial sustainability. Soybeans are crucial for global food security, but the soybean cyst nematode (SCN) is causing significant grain loss in U.S. soybean yields, which contribute to 32% of global soybean planting. Despite advanced management techniques like crop rotation and resistant varieties, SCN remains a major disruptive pest. Early detection of SCN is difficult due to the lack of visible symptoms in soybean plants. Common soil sampling methods for SCN detection have issues, including unreliable threshold damage methods. To address these challenges, precision agriculture explores innovative approaches like deep learning and hyperspectral imaging for efficient and scalable plant disease detection, promising solutions to enhance soybean crop management. The adoption of precision agriculture is influenced by farmers' perceptions of its profitability and their ability to manage it effectively. Consultants and computer use also play a role in adoption, and support and training in using computers may be necessary for long-term success. In the future, farmers will need to acquire new skills and adopt a different mindset to keep up with changes in PA. For precision agriculture to become more widespread, farmers need access to reliable and timely data to make better decisions about their crops and land. Collaboration between the public and private sectors is crucial to support and encourage its adoption. Accuracy is a crucial factor for success in precision agriculture. The use of advanced technologies to collect precise data allows farmers to make informed decisions tailored to their fields' specific needs. This precision optimizes resource usage, reduces waste, minimizes environmental impacts, and improves overall efficiency and productivity. Accurate data also aids in early problem identification and crop yield improvement. Additionally, precision data enhances the effectiveness of automated farming equipment like GPS-guided tractors and drones. Overall, accuracy in data collection and analysis leads to improved farm management, increased profitability, and sustainable agricultural practices. References https://www.undp.org/sites/g/files/zskgke326/files/2022-01/UNDP-Precision-Agriculture-for-Smallholder-Farmers-V2.pdf https://www.researchgate.net/publication/354252187_A_meta-analysis_of_factors_driving_the_adoption_of_precision_agriculture https://www.researchgate.net/publication/323115562_Using_technology_of_data_collection_and_data_processing_in_precision_farming https://www.intechopen.com/chapters/82490 https://www.mdpi.com/1996-1073/15/1/217 https://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/pub-details/?pubid=105893 https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09064710.2021.2024874 https://plantmethods.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13007-022-00933-8
Food production, particularly meat production, is a major contributor to nearly 60% of the planet-heating gases emitted by humans. This article delves into the significant growth of the plant-based food market in recent years and its projected expansion over the next decade, highlighting the major consumer trends driving this growth. How does meat consumption contribute to climate change? Greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane, significantly affect the earth’s temperature. The most known greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide (CO2). But there are other gases responsible for the greenhouse effect, such as methane, which is up to 34 times more damaging to the environment than CO2 if measured over 100 years; this ratio increases to 86 times more damaging if measured over 20 years. Livestock produces significant amounts of methane as part of their normal digestive processes, and when there is an overconsumption of cattle, there is a strong increase in gas emissions. According to recent studies, by 2050, global meat consumption is projected to reach between 460 million and 570 million tons, which is twice as high as in 2008. And clearly, Processing and transporting this livestock further increases emissions. Livestock emissions make up about 14.5 percent of the total global greenhouse gas emissions, and roughly 2/3 of those emissions come from cattle. Meat production is responsible for 57% of all food production emissions; 1 kilo of beef generates around 70 kg of greenhouse gas emissions. Meat production also contributes to the exhaustion of water resources. The UN states that producing one quarter-pound burger consumes around 1,500 liters of water. In addition to the gas emissions, raising meat requires a large quantity of feed, and cattle ranching requires millions of acres of land and monoculture crop fields to feed this livestock. Cattle ranching drives deforestation 5 times more than any other sector and is responsible for a great majority of the Amazon forests; estimates show that about 70% of its deforested land is used for cattle. Converting natural habitats to agricultural fields releases greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. As a result of these facts, the plant-based movement has been growing as people understand the relationship between their food choices and the planet's health. From the planet’s perspective, plant-based foods would require 37% less water, and their production would generate significantly lower gas emissions. This is where the race for market share begins. Plant-based food: the future? 2021 Bloomberg report The plant-based food market globally is expected to reach $162 billion by 2030, up from $29.4 billion in 2020. A report published by Bloomberg in 2021 stated that global retail sales of plant-based food alternatives (meaning food that consists of all minimally processed fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, herbs, and spices and excludes all animal products) may reach $162 billion by 2030, which is an increase of more than $100 billion compared to 2022. The plant-based market is growing 5 times faster than the overall food industry. In the Middle East and Africa, the plant-based meat and dairy products market is projected to witness a CAGR of ~6% from 2022 to 2027. As more people are moving toward a healthier and cleaner lifestyle, the term “flexitarian” (meaning a casual vegetarian) is growing fast. With 14% vegetarians and vegans worldwide and 15% flexitarians, this means that 29% of consumers globally are now embracing plant-based alternatives The Asia-Pacific region has the largest share of the global plant-based market, and with a growth scenario of around $51 billion from 2020 to 2030, its market could reach $64.8 billion. This growth is driven by cultural and demographic factors, since the region’s population is expected to exceed 5 billion people by 2030, increasing the demand for plant-based alternatives. Plant-based meat In 2025, the global meat market share is expected to reach 90% of the global meat supply, and this ratio is expected to decrease by 50% in 2040. While meat alternatives are expected to increase by around 15%, reaching 25% of sales during the same period, cultured meat (genuine meat that is produced by cultivating animal cells directly) is expected to increase by 35%. These predictions demonstrate the market potential of plant-based alternatives, and that plant-based and cell-based meat will account for most of the meat sold by 2040 (with a combined share of 60%). The Asia Pacific plant-based food market was valued at $17.1 billion in 2020 and is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 15.9 percent between 2018 and 2026. With a market share of 37.9% in 2020, China dominates the Asian plant-based food market. On top of that, the Chinese government is planning to reduce meat consumption in the country by 50% by 2030. According to a study published in 2021 by DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences and IPSOS, demand for plant-based meat substitutes in China and Thailand is expected to increase by 200% by 2025. In the US, the plant-based food market reached $7 billion in sales in 2020, compared to $4.8 billion in 2018, recording a growth of 43%. The growth of plant-based food sales has outpaced the growth of total food sales by 2.5 times during that same period The table below illustrates the top 5 companies in meat alternatives by dollar share: In the Middle East, meat alternatives are increasing, for instance, UAE-based Halal food brand Al Islami launched its first vegan burger in 2021. In 2019, the global plant-based meat market reached $19 billion, with the Middle East accounting for $176.5 million, and was projected to grow by 4 to 5% annually until 2023. Plant-based milk The plant-based milk and derivatives market has already disrupted the dairy market and still has significant room for growth. Multiple factors are contributing to this growth potential, including lactose intolerance, and rising health concerns. According to the Food Intolerance Network, as much as 75% of the world’s population is lactose intolerant. Dairy products also contain high levels of saturated fats, which increases the risk of high cholesterol. As people are moving toward a healthier lifestyle, plant-based dairy alternatives have the potential to reach $68.8 billion by 2030, compared to their 2021 value of $25.2 billion, growing at a CAGR of 11.8% from 2022 to 2030 In the Asia-Pacific region, alternative dairy products are projected to make up 57% of the plant-based protein market by 2030 In the GCC region, 65% of consumers suffer from lactose intolerance, and 48% of consumers claim to prefer the taste of almond and oat milk to cow’s milk. Lulu hypermarket, a leading supermarket in the UAE, stated that the plant-based milk market has grown by 50% in 2020. New market access Millennials and Gen Z are more likely to become vegetarians and vegans, as they are more environmentally aware and have a strong sense of social responsibility. Regarding their consumption, 63% of Gen Zers consume a vegetarian or vegan meal at least once per month, and 44% do so once a week or more. According to a 2022 report, 79% of millennials and Gen Zers are already regularly eating plant-based. In the United States, while only 2.5% of Americans over the age of 50 consider themselves vegetarians, 7.5% of Millennials and Gen Z have given up meat. Since future consumers are millennials and Gen Z, companies are focusing on offering products that appeal to them." The plant-based food industry is rapidly expanding and capturing a sizable market share; it also shows promising growth potential over the next 10 years. Therefore, now is the time for companies to innovate and develop plant-based alternatives. Interest in alternative proteins, for instance, is increasing globally, as plants have limited environmental impacts and are a healthy alternative filled with protein. Although alternative proteins accounted for only 2% of the world protein market in 2020, they are expected to reach 12% by 2035. Pea protein, for instance, grew at a 30% CAGR from 2004 to 2019. Animal protein will stay prevalent in the market; this, however, does not eliminate the room for plant-based foods to grow and solidify their place in the market. According to a Bloomberg study, the plant-based food market is estimated to hit $162 billion in the next 10 years. Sources: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/sep/13/meat-greenhouses-gases-food-production-study https://www.myclimate.org/information/faq/faq-detail/what-are-greenhouse-gases/ https://unece.org/challenge https://news.un.org/en/story/2018/11/1025271 https://www.cleanwateraction.org/features/meat-industry-%E2%80%93-environmental-issues-solutions https://www.bbc.com/news/explainers-59232599 https://www.sustain.ucla.edu/food-systems/the-case-for-plant-based/#:~:text=Now%2C%20for%20those%20of%20you%20worried%20about%20protein%20content%3A&text=From%20a%20water%20perspective%2C%20using,to%20eat%20plant-based%20foods. https://www.forbes.com/sites/christophermarquis/2021/03/02/plant-based-foods-are-our-future-and-entrepreneurs-are-helping-us-make-the-shift/?sh=7dbeae5351f5 https://insideclimatenews.org/news/21102019/climate-change-meat-beef-dairy-methane-emissions-california/#:~:text=Emissions%20from%20livestock%20account%20for,for%20grazing%20and%20feed%20crops. https://www.theworldcounts.com/challenges/consumption/foods-and-beverages/world-consumption-of-meat/story https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/interactive/2022/amazon-beef-deforestation-brazil/ https://www.livekindly.co/middle-easts-vegan-food-market-growing-fast/ https://assets.bbhub.io/professional/sites/10/1102795_PlantBasedFoods.pdf https://foodspecialities.com/industry-news/dairy-ingredients-industry-news/high-margin-growth-opportunities-with-plant-based-milks/ https://cultivateinsights.com/2019/07/22/alternative-meats-could-be-60-of-the-market-by-2040/ https://gfi.org/marketresearch/ https://thevou.com/lifestyle/2019-the-world-of-vegan-but-how-many-vegans-are-in-the-world/#:~:text=Right%20now%2C%20the%20total%20number,percent%20of%20the%20world%20population. https://foodinstitute.com/focus/veganuary-2022-coincides-with-growing-flexitarian-trend/#:~:text=Flexitarians%20are%20more%20flexible.&text=It's%20estimated%2015%25%20of%20the%20population%20already%20is%20flexitarian. https://tradeinsights.amys.com/millennial-gen-z-buying-habits-spell-growing-opportunity-for-plant-based/ https://www.visualcapitalist.com/sp/how-does-animal-meat-compare-to-plant-based-meat/ https://www.bloomberg.com/company/press/plant-based-foods-market-to-hit-162-billion-in-next-decade-projects-bloomberg-intelligence/ https://www.mordorintelligence.com/industry-reports/middle-east-and-africa-plant-based-meat-and-dairy-products-industry https://web-assets.bcg.com/a0/28/4295860343c6a2a5b9f4e3436114/bcg-food-for-thought-the-protein-transformation-mar-2021.pdf https://www.plantbasedfoods.org/marketplace/retail-sales-data-2020/ https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2022/05/18/2446161/0/en/Plant-Based-Meat-Products-Market-Size-Worth-US-14-527-55Mn-Globally-by-2028-at-15-3-CAGR-Exclusive-Report-by-The-Insight-Partners.html https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2019/10/14/1929284/0/en/Plant-based-Meat-Market-To-Reach-USD-30-92-Billion-By-2026-Reports-And-Data.html https://www.globenewswire.com/en/news-release/2022/08/16/2499600/0/en/Dairy-Alternative-Market-Size-to-Hit-USD-68-79-Billion-by-2030.html#:~:text=The%20global%20dairy%20alternatives%20market,11.8%25%20from%202022%20to%202030.
This is part one of our African Agriculture series – where we explore successes, failures, and the way forward for African Agriculture policies. The dangers of land reform policies – The case of Ethiopia Land reforms have been a thorny issue in Africa since the independence periods. Many countries, including South Africa and Nigeria, are still trying to navigate the complex matter of land rights, land reorganization, and the proper way to distribute agricultural land based on historic and socio-economic considerations. Ethiopia stands out as a stark reminder of how land reform policies can go awry, and lead to increased vulnerability among small-scale rural farmers. Despite its immense agricultural potential, with large stretches of arable land (4th largest in Africa in terms of arable land with over 151 190 km²), the country has been consistently suffering from bouts of famine and dire food insecurity. Ethiopia’s agricultural difficulties can be linked to multiple elements, including poor rural infrastructure, weak farmer support, and a lack of modern agricultural equipment, but many of the sector’s structural problems can be traced back to the poor land reform policies implemented in the 1970s. The Marxist military government ruling Ethiopia from 1974 until 1987 launched a complete overhaul of the country’s land system once it reached power, proclaiming the end of land ownership and transforming all agricultural land into government owned land. This new transformation was accompanied in 1975 with the proclamation of the “land to the tiller” policy in matters of agricultural land. Under this new policy, farmers and peasants who originally tended the land were given the right of use for agricultural purposes, but no ownership rights were given (selling, mortgaging, leasing, leaving land to descendants). Moreover, land and plot distribution/redistribution were common during this period, as rural population increased and demand for land-use skyrocketed. [caption id="attachment_4879" align="aligncenter" width="652"] Figure 1: Rural population in Ethiopia[/caption] The system in place stripped away any economic incentive to develop the land, as farmers were under the constant fear of land redistribution and reorganization. This insecurity in tenure (or simply the feeling of insecurity) created a self-perpetuating vicious cycle, where farmers were incentivized to exploit the land they were assigned as much as possible, without investing any personal resources on improving it. The “land to the tiller” system also led to the fragmentation of agricultural land, as farms were handed out to any rural farmer able to exploit it. Farms sizes shrunk rapidly under the new land distribution system, with small farms (which constitute more than 75% of the country’s agricultural land) averaging less than 0.8 hectares per farm. In addition, land dependency rates started climbing as more people had to rely on agricultural land for their livelihood. [caption id="attachment_4880" align="aligncenter" width="614"] Figure 2: Agricultural Population per hectare of Arable land[/caption] This new reality created socio-economic conditions that are conducive to heightened poverty levels among farmers, increased vulnerability to environmental shocks, and a generalized situation of precarity. The dire state of Ethiopia’s agricultural sector was exposed when the country experienced one of the worse bouts of famine in its history in 1984, which highlighted the fact that large parts of Ethiopia’s rural population were one drought away from starvation. Moreover, land stress and over-exploitation also became more prominent under the new land administration system, as poor farmers were left with no choice but to exploit their assigned plot of land to the highest levels (no use of land rest periods or crop rotation techniques). While the full extent of land degradation is very hard to measure, recent estimates suggest that over 85% of Ethiopia’s agricultural land is considered “moderately to severely degraded”. The legacy of Ethiopia’s land reform policies in the 1970s can still be felt today across the country’s agricultural sector. High Farmer poverty levels, recurring localized food shortages, and land degradation stand as reminders of how poor policy-making in the agricultural sector can have lasting effects on rural development and poverty alleviation. Despite some improvements -introduced by the 1995 constitution- to the status of farmers and their relationship with the land, all agricultural land remains under state ownership to this day. Ibrahim Zaaimi – Research Associate Sources : R Paper; R Paper; Article; FAO; Book Chapter Analysis; Report; Analysis; Press; Press; Paper; Analysis  The agricultural population is defined as the number of people depending on land and farming for their livelihood (farmers and their families, agricultural workers and their families)  Political repression and food aid blockade heightened the impact of the droughts and shortages
Africa has more than 202 million hectares of uncultivated land, equivalent to almost half of the world’s usable uncultivated land. Despite this, Africa suffers from the highest poverty rate in the world with nearly 47.5% of the population living below the poverty line of US$1.25 a day (as of 2008). Poor resource management and improper governance of land have been the main hindrance to unleashing the potential of the agricultural land in Africa. Recently, this untapped fortune attracted the attention of many international and African organizations. The World Bank report on “Securing Africa’s Land for Shared Prosperity” highlights many opportunities that Africa can make use of to achieve sustainable growth and eradicate poverty through scale-up programs and policy reforms. Such reforms are entitled to increase land productivity, boost food security and ensure inclusive economic growth. The 10-Step Scaling Up Program The World Bank suggests a 10-step scaling up program to enhance land reform in Africa based on lessons learned from countries like Brazil, Argentina, Indonesia, and China. “Land governance is a proven pathway to achieving transformational change and impact that will help secure Africa’s future for the benefit of all its families,” says Jamal Saghir, World Bank Director for Sustainable Development in Africa. The program builds on previous experience and adds customized solutions to address specific challenges in African countries, among which are the following: Poor documentation that leads to land grabs by investors Corruption and incompetent administration of land Lack of expertise and need for capacity management Overcoming Challenges Through Reform Implementation To overcome those challenges, and to ensure the reforms serve the purpose of sustainable growth, the steps suggested by the World Bank program include: Securing tenancy rights over individual and public lands Redistribution of land possession, to include the people whose income is below the poverty threshold and deprived majority Improve land governance: enhance transparency, power decentralization, develop information systems and databases to ensure proper documentation and better mapping of lands Adopt technology innovation to enhance efficiency Capacity building: providing training and knowledge transfer facilities for better administration of land Reforms of planning to ensure efficient use of the available agricultural capacity Empower the rule of law to guarantee farmers rights and resolve disputes Implementing these reforms would enable Africa to make use of its land resources to attract investments and achieve higher returns, which will lead to more growth and less poverty in the region. South Africa and Nigeria have started their way through land reforms and below are lessons learned from each. Nigeria's Path Towards Reform Nigeria is the country with the highest population in Africa, 151 million representing 250 ethnic groups as of 2008. Nigeria’s agricultural sector is one of the major sectors contributing to the economy as it creates jobs for more than 50% of the rural population. The country’s total land area is estimated to be more than 910 thousand square kilometers of which almost 80% is usable for cultivating crops and livestock production. 80% of the Nigerian rural population are farmers, however, the percentage of land used from the total land is only 33%. Limited public investment (less than 2% of government expenditures), corruption, need for land law reforms were among the main reasons behind the inefficient use of land in Nigeria. Since land ownership is a major determinant in the use of land for agricultural purposes, the Nigerian government published the Land Use Act of 1978 to ensure land is accessible to all farmers in a fair distribution system. However, many reforms are yet to be implemented in the Act to ensure that it achieves its objectives. Building trust between government and people, and educating the public about the laws, procedures, and reforms are inevitable actions that the Nigerian government needs to consider to enable the country to achieve its mission to be one of the 20 largest economies in the world by 2020. South Africa Land Reform The need for land reform in South Africa has never been more crucial. The country has witnessed inequality in land ownership between the black majority and the white minority for ages. Reforms tried to address this challenge since 1994, but till 2011 reforms could only help in transferring 6.27 million hectares to the white minority, which is equivalent to 7.2% of the land already owned by the white in 1994. This progress is too slow, and South Africa needs to fasten the pace of reforms implementation. The case of South Africa makes it clear that reforms that do not target small-farmer needs will not be so effective in achieving sustainable growth. To ensure successful implementation, the government should involve civil society and provide enough support to farmers. Lately, many international organizations are trying to induce land reforms in South Africa to benefit from the country agriculture resources. Conservation South Africa (CSA) is working closely with governmental agencies to enhance farming practices to maximize productivity and achieve food security within the nation. Sources  http://www.worldbank.org/en/region/afr/publication/securing-africas-land-for-shared-prosperity https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/13837/780850PUB0EPI00LIC00pubdate05024013.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y  https://usaidlandtenure.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/USAID_Land_Tenure_Nigeria_Profile.pdf  http://www.hrpub.org/download/20171030/UJAR4-10410070.pdf https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/13837/780850PUB0EPI00LIC00pubdate05024013.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y  https://www.conservation.org/global/ci_south_africa/our-initiatives/food-security-land-reform/Pages/food-security-land-reform.aspx
At the heart of Africa's economic transformation, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), signed by leaders from 44 African nations at the African Union Summit in Kigali, Rwanda, from March 17th to 21st, 2018, stands as a monumental pact. This ambitious agreement aims to unify Africa into the world’s largest single market, promising to revolutionize the Africa Trade Area by enhancing intra-continental trade and economic prosperity. (1) The pact aims to boost intra-African trade by making Africa a single market of 1.2 billion people and a cumulative GDP over $3.4 trillion. The UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) estimates that the implementation of the agreement could increase intra-African trade by 52% by 2022 (compared with trade levels in 2010) and double the share of intra-African trade (currently around 13% of Africa’s exports) by the start of the next decade. (2) (8) Among the AU member states that did not sign the pact are the continent’s two largest economies - Nigeria and South Africa. Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Zambia, Burundi, Eritrea, Benin, Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau are the other member countries which did not sign the pact. (1) (3) (4) Under the CFTA, governments commit to removing tariffs on 90% of goods produced within the continent. The next step for the governments is to ratify the CFTA in their countries within the next 6 months. (1) Objectives of the Continental Free Trade Area Establish a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business professionals and investments, accelerating the establishment of the Continental Customs Union and the African customs union. (5) Expand intra-African trade through better harmonization and coordination of trade liberalization and facilitation across Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and across Africa.(5) Resolve the challenges of multiple and overlapping memberships and expedite the integration processes.(5) Enhance competitiveness at the industry and enterprise level by exploiting opportunities for scale production, continental market access and better reallocation of resources. (5) Potential Benefits & Relevant Implications According to a research paper published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in February 2018, the CFTA offers many opportunities for sustainable development and economic growth in the African economies. However, not all countries will benefit to the same extent, and the gain of welfare benefits also implicates relevant costs and commitments. (6) Most of the benefits of further trade integration (i.e. welfare benefits from lower import prices, production efficiency and increase in outputs, higher value-added jobs and exports, technological specialization, etc.) will materialize in the long term, while most of the associated costs of adjustment and integration (i.e. loss in trade tariff revenue, local SME’s vanishing in front of stronger competition, adjusting unemployment, required investment in infrastructure, political and regulatory reforms, etc.) will be incurred in the short term. (6) Using the Global Trade Analysis Project (GTAP) computable general equilibrium (CGE) model, UNCTAD has estimated the quantitative effects of the CFTA according to 2 long-term scenarios: a full Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and Special Product Categorization (SPC). (6) A full Free Trade Agreement (FTA) eliminating all tariffs in the CFTA could generate welfare gains of US$ 16.1 billion, at the cost of US$ 4.1 billion in trade revenue losses (representing 9.1% of current tariff revenues). GDP and employment are expected to grow by 0.97% and 1.17% respectively. Intra-African trade growth is estimated at 33% and the continent's trade deficit is expected to drop by 50.9%. (6) Special Product Categorization (SPC) permanently exempts sensitive products from liberalization. In a scenario in which the sector with the highest current tariff revenue would be exempted from liberalization, UNCTAD simulations estimate a welfare gain of US$ 10.7 billion in the long term. Tariff revenue losses are expected at US$ 3.2 billion (representing 7.2% of current tariff revenues). GDP and employment growth are expected to grow by 0.66% and 0.82% respectively. Intra-African trade is expected to grow by 24%, while, Africa's trade deficit only shrinks by 3.8%. (6) UNCTAD also estimates the employment effect of the agreement by sub-sector (Figure 4). The agriculture sector is extremely relevant for the African economies since it employed about 53% of the continent’s labor force in 2016. Governments are worried about possible adverse impacts of the CFTA on the agriculture sector's economic growth, which would massively affect employment across the continent. Even though the largest employment growth rates are found in manufacturing and services sectors, agriculture sub-sectors are also expected to grow (see Figure 4).(6) Costs & Commitments Despite the many benefits this agreement will render, not all the countries are expected to benefit equally from the free trade agreement. While expected average GDP growth is around 1%, some countries are expected to grow over 3%, while some others are expected to contract (Figure 5). Figure 6 shows that, under the SPC scenario, fewer countries suffer tariff revenue losses above 20% compared to the full FTA scenario. (6) It is vital that African countries commit to continue improving their institutional capacities to efficiently tax and redistribute the gains from the CFTA. This includes integrating and harmonizing regulatory measures, eliminating non-tariff barriers to trade and investment, and facilitating the entry into the formal economy. (6) (8) Another key factor to fully exploit the potential benefits of the CFTA is infrastructure. Addressing Africa’s physical infrastructure gap will require $93 billion per year worth of public and private investment. (8) Even though African exports to the world are undiversified and mostly composed of raw materials, Intra-Africa exports (exports between African countries) contain more value-added products. (7) Manufactured goods represented 43% of intra-Africa exports during 2012-2016, while only representing 20% of exports to the rest of the world. Medium and high technology manufactures represented 25.4% of intra-African trade in 2015, but only accounted for 14.1% of Africa’s exports to developed countries and 13.7% of the continent’s exports to the world (Figure 2). (6) (8) [caption id="attachment_4274" align="aligncenter" width="577"] Figure Africa Continental Free Trade Area[/caption] As such, countries with large manufacturing bases and enabling physical and industrial infrastructure, such as South Africa, Kenya, Egypt, Morocco, and Ethiopia are in a better position to gain the expected benefits of the CFTA. (7) Agriculture will also benefit from the creation of a more viable African marketplace for food. Enhanced trade in agricultural products will also promote agro-processing and further sectoral linkages with manufacturing. (8) Even though the CFTA is a great step forward towards economic integration, there is still a long road ahead. African governments must commit to keep working so that the gains from the CFTA are distributed as fairly as possible, making sure no one is left behind, and ensuring that the CFTA becomes a catalyst for sustainable economic development for the continent as a whole. (8) Sources https://www.businessdailyafrica.com/news/Africa-leaders-ink-largest-free-market-treaty/539546-4351888-ubv411z/index.html https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/03/african-continental-free-trade-area-afcfta-180317191954318.html https://edition.cnn.com/2018/03/22/africa/african-trade-agreement-world/index.html https://www.reuters.com/article/us-africa-trade/nigeria-keen-to-ensure-africa-trade-bloc-good-for-itself-president-idUSKBN1GX29V https://au.int/en/ti/cfta/about http://unctad.org/en/PublicationsLibrary/ser-rp-2017d15_en.pdf https://www.moodys.com/research/Moodys-African-free-trade-deal-could-improve-regions-credit-profiles--PR_381153 https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/05/this-african-trade-deal-could-improve-lives-across-the-whole-continent/