Artistic image of paprika foregrounding a newspaper.

Le grenier de l’Afrique

KIGALI – La première Journée mondiale de l’alimentation en 1945, une multitude de gens dans le monde entier ont célébré la création de l’Organisation des Nations Unies pour l’alimentation et l’agriculture et le lancement de la première initiative internationale coordonnée pour combattre la faim dans le monde. Cette année, à la 70Journée mondiale de l’alimentation, la communauté internationale se mobilise autour des objectifs de développement durable – l’un d’entre eux étant l’élimination de la faim et de la malnutrition d’ici 2030, ainsi que la création de structures de production agricole plus résilientes et plus écologiques. Est-ce faisable?

Il est incontestable que cet objectif constitue un défi de taille, car la population mondiale croît rapidement (les estimations font état d’une population mondiale de 8,5 milliards de personnes, d’ici 2030), les conséquences des changements climatiques sont de plus en plus évidentes et la quantité de terres arables ne fait que régresser. Par contre pour l’Afrique, qui dispose de 60 % des terres arables du monde ainsi que des conditions climatiques propices à un vaste éventail de cultures, la poursuite de l’objectif représente une occasion historique d’assurer la sécurité alimentaire pour les Africains (un sur quatre souffrant de malnutrition) et de propulser son économie en devenant un grand exportateur de denrées alimentaires.

Malgré la croissance élevée des économies africaines ces dernières années, le monde agraire n’a pas bougé d’un iota. En fait, l’agriculture en Afrique demeure le domaine de petits exploitants – qui n’ont pas vraiment accès aux technologies qui stimulent les rendements agricoles. Ils cultivent quelques produits seulement, sans liens véritables avec les marchés, le secteur de la transformation alimentaire et d’autres pans de l’économie. En plus de compromettre la sécurité alimentaire – l’Afrique importe encore de grandes quantités de denrées alimentaires –, les faibles rendements agricoles perpétuent la pauvreté rurale, en dépit de l’apparition d’une classe moyenne dans la plupart des villes d’Afrique.

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