Pick Up

475. Development of Sustainable Technologies to Increase Agricultural Productivity and Improve Food Security in Africa

Related Research Program


In Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), where one out of four people are malnourished and the population is expected to double by 2050, achieving food security in terms of both quantity and quality has become an urgent issue. However, the potential of agricultural production in SSA has not been fully realized due to poor soil fertility and adverse environmental conditions. The region is also vulnerable to climate change and infectious diseases. The second goal of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations calls for all countries to achieve “zero hunger”.

The Food Security in Africa project of the Stable Agricultural Production Program implemented by JIRCAS during the 4th Medium to Long-term Plan (FY2016-2020) focused on three priority areas, namely, rice production enhancement, regional crop utilization, and crop-livestock integration, to develop and improve food security in SSA through joint research with domestic and overseas research institutions. In January 2022, JARQ (Japan Agricultural Research Quarterly) published a review paper, Development of sustainable technologies to increase agricultural productivity and improve food security in Africa, providing an overview of the technical challenges and problems of agriculture in SSA, and various efforts of the projects to address them.

Good nutritional status is an essential component of protection against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). In addition to the social and humanitarian crises caused by the spread of COVID-19 to vulnerable low-income developing regions including SSA, there are concerns about the deterioration of global food and nutrition security, and efforts to stabilize global food production and eliminate malnutrition are becoming increasingly important. At the same time, the global transformation of the food system is an urgent issue now that problems such as the "nitrogen and phosphorus cycle" and many other environmental systems and processes associated with the expansion of agricultural production exceeding the limits of planetary boundary have become apparent. In order to establish a sustainable agricultural system, it is necessary to develop technologies that are easily accessible, effective, and lead to increased food productivity for farmers, without negative impact on the environment. Promoting the dissemination of the developed technologies and maximizing research outputs will lead to improvement of both productivity and nutrition of agricultural products in SSA and other developing regions, thereby contributing to the eradication of poverty and the creation of a peaceful and healthy society.

JIRCAS has further advanced its activities on food security in Africa as described in this review and started its 5th Medium to Long-term Plan (2021-2025) in April last year. This year, the 8th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD8) will be held in Tunisia in August, which is expected to draw renewed attention to Africa. In the Food Program's "African rice farming system" and "Africa upland farming system" projects, we will continue to develop our research in cooperation with domestic and international research institutes, and utilizing external funding such as the SATREPS Madagascar project, in order to contribute to food security in Africa.



Nakashima K, Yanagihara S, Muranaka S, and Oya T (2022). Development of Sustainable Technologies to Increase Agricultural Productivity and Improve Food Security in Africa. JARQ 56 (1):7-18, https://www.jircas.go.jp/ja/publication/jarq/2020j10


4th Medium to Long-Term Plan
【Stable Agricultural Production】Technology development for stable production of agricultural products in the tropics and other adverse environments 
【Food Security in Africa】Development of sustainable technologies to increase agricultural productivity and improve food security in Africa https://www.jircas.go.jp/ja/program/program_b/b1

5th Medium to Long-Term Plan
【Food Program】Technology development towards building a new food system with improved productivity, sustainability and resilience https://www.jircas.go.jp/en/program/prob

【Africa rice farming system】
Development of sustainable rice cultivation and food production system in Africa https://www.jircas.go.jp/en/program/prob/b5
【Africa upland farming system】
Technology development towards supporting farmers' decision-making to boost sustainable upland farming system in Africa https://www.jircas.go.jp/en/program/prob/b6
【SATREPS Madagascar・Fy Vary Project】
Breakthrough in Nutrient Use Efficiency for Rice by Genetic Improvement and Fertility Sensing Techniques in Africa https://www.jircas.go.jp/en/satreps

Ministry of Foreign Affairs: The 8th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD8) https://www.mofa.go.jp/press/release/press3e_000317.html

Picture caption
Left: Need for increased rice production in Ghana (Photo: TSUJIMOTO Yasuhiro )
Top right: Cowpeas (left, Nigeria) and yams (right, Benin) support the diet of local people (Photo: MURANAKA Satoshi)
Bottom right: Dairy farming (Mozambique) is expected to contribute to the improvement of people's nutrition (Photo: OYA Tetsuji)


Contributors: NAKASHIMA Kazuo (Director, Food Program), YANAGIHARA Seiji (Biological Resources and Post-harvest Division), MURANAKA Satoru (Crop, Livestock and Environment Division), OYA Tetsuji (Crop, Livestock and Environment Division)