Food production trends in ACP countries
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CTA. 1986. Food production trends in ACP countries. Spore 6. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/44538
Food production trends in ACP countries [report, in French and English]IFPRI International Food Policy Research InstituteCTA
Shortage of food will worsen if population growth continue In collaboration with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), CTA has just published (in French and English) a report entitled 'Food Production Trends in ACP countries' The information presented deals with both population and land use, particularly food crops, as well as trends in production, consumption and commercialisation of basic food products over the last two decades. The statistics used come primarily from the FAO. ACP countries have been grouped into six geographic zones: West Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. The following are examples of the kind of information found in this report. In 1980, the net food deficit of ACP countries was equal to about 10% of their total consumption of basic foodstuffs. Total production was 73 million tonnes and the deficit was 8.4 million tonnes. For ACP countries as a whole, the average food deficit worked out to be about 22 kn per capita. For non-cereal crops there was a net surplus of about half a million tonnes and a net deficit for cereals of nearly 9 million tonnes. Commercial data indicated that nearly 95 % of the cereal deficit for 1980 was filled by imports, primarily wheat (45%) and rice (25 %). With a total population of about 350 million, ACP countries use about 125 million hectares of arable land for agricultural production. Each hectare of cultivated land supports about 2.8 people compared to a world average of 3.3 and 4.6 in developing countries. The pressure put on land for food production in ACP countries is thus much less than in developing countries as a whole. Between 1960 and 1980, the population of ACP countries grew by almost 147 million as a result of an average growth rate of 2.8 % per year. This is higher than the rate for population growth of developing countries in general (2.4 %). Data for the 1978-1982 period indicate that the total production of major crops in ACP countries was about 55 % cereals and 45 % other products. Millet and sorghum represent about a quarter of total production, which is slightly more than the combined total of maize and rice. The major proportion of non-cereal production clearly shows the importance of these products in the food habits of ACP citizens. Root and tuber crops accounted for nearly 30% of the main food harvests in these countries, compared to only 20 % for developing countries in general. In countries in Central Africa and the Pacific, root and tuber crops accounted for 60 % of total food production. As far as trends are concerned, the data indicated that the increase in cultivated land represents about 80 % of the increase in food production of these countries over the last two decades. Improvements in yield account for the remaining 20 %. While current food imports in ACP countries appear to be within controllable limits, certain factors indicate that their food problems could easily worsen in the decades to come. In fact, longterm trends show an increase in food production of only 2 % per year compared to a population increase of about 3 %. Food shortages can only be expected to worsen if these trends continue. Furthermore, food imports have been growing by more than 8 % per year which, if continued, will mean a doubling of imports in only 10 years. Foreign aid accounts for a substantial proportion of food imports in Africa. The cereal donations of almost 2 million tonnes represented nearly 25 % of total cereal imports in 1981. If these past trends in food production and consumption continue, it is likely that foreign aid will no longer compensate for such a rapidly increasing food deficit, thus leading to a further deterioration of consumption levels in the poor countries of this continent. Given the fact that increased food production in Africa has generally been brought about by increased areas of food cultivation, rather than increased yields per unit of area of land, it is suggested that technological research should emphasize ways of improving the productivity of farmers. The significance of non-cereal crops, notably roots and tubers, indicates the potential role that these products could play in helping to minimize future food deficits.