Africa can feed itself, if only it pays attention to its soil. This is the argument put forward by Pedro Sanchez, one of the world’s leading agricultural scientists and World Food Prize winner. Sanchez argues that too much attention has been placed on improving crop varieties and too little attention has been paid to improving Africa’s soil. With better soil Sanchez argues that Africa can more than triple its food production.
Necessary to this, according to an article by Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Anna Salleh about Sanchez’s work, is an increase in organic material in the soil that will “feed soil microbes and retain soil moisture.”
Heifer’s livestock programs in Africa combine animal husbandry with composting to work toward the very ends that Sanchez is suggesting. Hopefully more attention will be paid to improving the life giving capacity of soil rather than simply relying on genetically engineered crops to solve the world’s food problems.