Aquaculture and agriculture

Agriculture remains an important source of livelihood for the majority of Africans, but the sector is still very unproductive. Despite huge agricultural potential, sub-Saharan African countries have not yet benefited from it and experienced the highest prevalence of undernourishment worldwide. As a result, countries import increasingly more agricultural products than they export, putting additional strain on scarce foreign exchange reserves. In this chapter, authors review the main challenges of the agricultural sector in sub-Saharan Africa. It includes gender disparities, dependence on rain-fed agriculture, low use of irrigation, limited public investment and institutional support. All these factors prevent countries from increasing productivity, adapting to climate change shocks and promoting agricultural value chains and trade.

Supporting the expansion of sustainable food production on land and in water

Food production, water, and the environment are very closely interlinked. Agricultural food production utilises 38% of the world’s total land mass, putting ecosystems and ecosystem services under severe pressure. Landscaping and drainage systems are changing the hydrological balances and runoff patterns. Consumption of huge quantities of water for irrigation can further (through the drainage of nutrients and pesticides) threaten environmental quality. At the same time, aquaculture food production utilises substantial areas in lakes and coastal zones.

Aquaculture is also a potential source of nutrients and toxic substances as well as a source of invasive species and diseases carriers. All these factors can threaten water environments.

Contemporary food production puts a substantial pressure on water resources and ecosystem services. With an estimated 2.7 billion additional mouths to feed in 2050, there will be an increasing need for managerial and technological solutions to push food production further towards sustainability.

The Challenges

  • Meeting the increasing need for more efficient and secure food production
  • Increasing environmental sustainability, alleviating threats to water resources and ecosystem services
  • Optimising the management and use of water and land

Agriculture machines

Agricultural machinery is machinery used in farming or other agriculture. There are many types of such equipment, from hand tools and power tools to tractors and the countless kinds of farm implements that they tow or operate. Diverse arrays of equipment are used in both organic and nonorganic farming. Especially since the advent of mechanised agriculture, agricultural machinery is an indispensable part of how the world is fed.