Agriculture is a very important sector in Africa in terms of subsistence, contribution to GDP, employment and foreign exchange earnings. It is and will remain the dominant source of staple food production for most of the rural poor in sub-Saharan Africa.
Food security as exist when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life (World Food Summit, 1996). The concept of food security includes both physical and economic access to food that meets people’s dietary needs as well as their food preferences. It hinges upon three pillars:
- Food availability: sufficient quantities of food available on a consistent basis;
- Food access: having sufficient resources to obtain appropriate foods for a nutritious diet; and
- Food use: appropriate use based on knowledge of basic nutrition and care, as well as adequate water and sanitation.
Food security is a complex sustainable development issue, linked to health through malnutrition, and also to sustainable economic development, environment and trade.
JIMAT’s work over the past 20 years has covered a broad range of sectors with agriculture development and food security being the major sectors. Through this experience we have built strong knowledge and experience in agricultural systems and policy development and planning, agriculture research support and development, agriculture input and output market systems analysis and strategy development with particular attention to enhancing smallholder agriculture. We are adept of local contexts, the diverse agricultural systems as well as current trends in the development of African agriculture – in particular the need to come up with a unique African agriculture growth path buoyed by access to improved seeds, fertilisers, finance and markets.