RAPID URBANIZATION AND SUSTAINABLE FOOD SECURITY: AFRICA’S DILEMMA
Published: 23 May 2015
Abstract: Africa is basically an agrarian state, with over 65 percent of its populace engaged in one form of farming or animal husbandry. Predominately, Africa’s agriculture is human-labour dependent, with near absence of mechanization in most production practices as well as being rural based. In most rural areas cropping is basically achieved through the use of simple tools such as hoes and cutlasses. Rural set-ups in most African states often lack basic amenities for comfortable life, with resultant effect on human migration from rural areas to urban centers. Rural-urban migrations result in loss of young individuals (who form the back bone for the work force on farms) seeking better city life. Unless there is deliberate policy measures by Africa’s policy makers to sustain agricultural production in the face of rapid urbanization, the process of urbanization may produce negative consequences in the agricultural sector, leading to food shortages with its attendant consequences: availability, price increases, hunger, and etcetera. There is the likelihood that as labour exit from rural areas, labour cost will tend to increase as competition for available labour become intense. There is also the possibility that farmers who may not be able to afford increase labour cost, access machineries, or adopt labour saving technologies will cut down on land under cultivation with negative implications on production. The paper stresses possible conflicts between urbanization and agricultural production. Considering that a large percentage of Africans are into agricultural production drawing their livelihood from the enterprise either as primary crop producers or as adding values to the chain of food production, or engage in agro input enterprises, among others, there is therefore the need to address possible areas of conflicts between rapid urbanization and food security.
Keywords: urbanization, rural-urban migration, food production, rural areas, labor, land
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