Upscaling agricultural productivity via decentralized outreach and communication

Rainfall spread data - Source FAO

The Sahel is the semi-arid transition region between the Sahara desert to the north and wetter regions of equatorial Africa to the south. Extending from the Atlantic ocean in the west to the Indian ocean in the east. It has high variability of rainfall, and the land consists of stabilized ancient sand seas. It is one of the poorest and most environmentally degraded areas on earth. Unlike nominal agricultural yields being addressed across most domestic and international media, productivity, thus entailing tools, methods and data aligned towards agricultural production seems to be drawing lesser concerns. This digital artifact is using a regional approach to agricultural productivity upscaling through decentralized outreach, but its underpinning rationale is still valid on a micro country scale using similar existing data. Mobility between Sahelian countries is also very important and remains a step in the trajectory of West African migration from capital cities to other African countries, and then on to Europe or North America. Current globalization process continues to deeply affect the Sahel; like all major world areas of outmigration Sahelian communities are now connected via continuous flows of people, money, goods, and ideas to major destinations of international migration.

Besides hot spots in the Middle East known for major migratory movements of displaced people, the Sahel has continuously been a porous migratory oasis with inevitable clashes of communities over limited natural resources from water, to livestock and human settlement lands...

Areas of critical intervention like this, albeit challenging can be promising when public involvement measures are timely sought, to showcasing the various societal challenges ahead with long term devastating effects for their communities.

Today, through satellite imagery afforded by improved Geographic Information System (GIS), aggregate data can be used over the last decades in awareness raising campaigns near local stakeholders and local private sector groups in the Sahel. Such public involvement scheme can be crucial in domestic resources mobilization for major carbon sequestration activities, projects and income generating activities. This is a typical example where Official Development Assistance (ODA) can help launch the required palliatives to ongoing desertification and environmental degradation.


The Sahelo-Sudanian zone corresponds with a rainfall range of 300 mm to 600 mm downwards, while the Sudanian zone itself has a southern boundary defined by the 1200 mm annual isohyet. Specific to this note, GIS modeling is sought to helping layout farming strategies based on crop’ varieties, tolerance and local and regional market needs.
 

Africa’s Sahel suffers from degraded soils, erratic rainfall patterns, and an exploding population, all of which hold huge implications for the region’s food security and stability beyond limits. Valerie Amos, the United Nations coordinator for emergency relief, estimated at a conference in Rome earlier this month that 20 million people in the Sahel will face hunger this year, requiring $2 billion in food aid.(http://www.wri.org).

Due to correlative incidence in regional peace and international stability, ODA might seem to be a good jump start in curbing the Sahel pandemic. Government’ authority’ erosion in the absence of solid boundaries across the Sahel region has led to petit thefts, increasing contraband and pirates activities leading to abandonment of villages and local production activities (farming, small scale wood/metal works and alike).

In the short to medium term, stressing use of Commercial finance approach here would help drawing African domestic private sector interest in reaping the benefits of projected high returns in a strategic area of food and nutrition in disarray.

To be effective, one cannot stress enough the need for targeted outreach with culturally competent contents in tune with region’s sociological migratory mix and traits. Advances in solar technology in the region, one of the most exposed to solar power in the world, can help achieve scale economies in non-conventional energy sources, a good buy-in for a private sector open for change.

To be effective, one cannot stress enough the need for targeted outreach with culturally competent contents in tune with region’s sociological migratory mix and traits. Advances in solar technology in the region, one of the most exposed to solar power in the world, can help achieve scale economies in non-conventional energy sources, a good buy-in for a private sector open for change.

In the long run, selective hybrid solutions sought to help addressing  food security  threats and humanitarian assistance can mature significant precedence of endogenous mitigation and adaptation strategies, all ground for continued domestic resource mobilization for challenges ahead.