The economies of many African countries are still driven by the agricultural sector amidst its underperformance. Current efforts to modernize the sector are geared towards ensuring that agricultural value chains are competitive in the developing global markets while effectively supporting the budding agro-industry. Successful agroindustrialization starts with enhancement of productivity, where labour, time and land resources are optimally deployed to provide the volumes and quality of raw materials needed to sufficiently feed into the value chain.
Agricultural production will only be sustained if the natural resources are managed to service both the present and the future generations. Being one of the major global impediments to development, climate change calls for undivided attention of all stakeholders in the agricultural and environment-based benefits. The need to feed the world’s increasing population with minimal pressure on the ecosystem brings to the forefront the critical role of innovation across the entire value chain.
Increased productivity is insufficient without an efficient value chain to move produce from the farm to the fork. Efficient value chains need to be supported by innovations along the pipeline. Critical among them include appropriate seed systems, production practices, post-harvest management and value addition to improve marketability. Important too are functional institutions that can effectively link up all aspects that lead to availability and utilisation of good quality products for well-being of society. Innovations, therefore, present an opportunity to increase input use efficiency to facilitate production intensification while preserving ecosystems, providing competitive products in the developing market and ensuring a vibrant agro-industry.