Corn, a Vital Staple Food in Africa

Ines Marjanovic

Agronomy Expert

Africa contributes the least to global warming than any other continent. However, it suffers greatly from some of the more serious impacts of climate changes. The statistics are shocking: Africa emits roughly 4% of greenhouse gas emissions, while the United States emits 23% of the total global greenhouse gasses. Unfortunately, along with Asia, Africa is the region where crop production is the most affected by climate change. Higher temperatures, reduced water supplies, biodiversity loss, and ecosystem degradation all affect African farming significantly. As a continent where a large percentage of the population lives below the poverty line and relies on farming as a source of their income, Africa is strongly vulnerable to climate change. Another main reason the corn industry there is suffering is because of a lack of knowledge among African farmers. Africa Is turning to corn farming. For many years, sorghum was the most suitable African staple crop. Today, many farmers are turning their farming to corn for several reasons: potential yields are higher, there is a chance for export, technical support packages are available, and the corn is a crop easier to process than sorghum.

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In sub-Saharan Africa, corn is the most important staple crop and it covers nearly 17% of the estimated cultivated land. More than 300 million people in sub-Saharan Africa depend on a corn as a source of food and livelihood. As a diverse region, sub-Saharan Africa is divided into four corn sub-regions which can be seen in the picture below.

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The importance of corn as a staple crop

Corn is a favorable crop for many farmers because all parts of the crop can be used for food and non-food products alike. The kernels are used as a food, the husk of the corn is traditionally used in making tamales, the stalks are used as animal food, and the corn silks are used for medicinal teas. As a staple food, corn is rich in vitamins A, C, and E, carbohydrates and essential minerals. Corn grains are also a good source of energy, rich in dietary fiber and calories. However, a heavy reliance on corn in the diet can lead to malnutrition and vitamin deficiency diseases. Corn is widely grown crop, suitable for various climatic conditions. The average world yields of corn are 25 t/ha, with the potential of 50-60 t/ha. By following good farm management practices, farmers can significantly improve their corn yields.

Farm management practices for improving corn production

Successful farm production is a result of good and organized farm management practices. Complete corn farming technology, from sowing, fertilizing, and crop protection to harvesting, can be managed easily with Agrivi Farm Management software. Agrivi gives a farmer complete knowledge about the best farm practices for 100 crops, including the corn. A cloud-base software enables farmers to track all their activities in the form of tasks, including the usage of pesticides, fertilizers, machinery and work hours. Agrivi also gives farmers on-time information by warning them if there is a risk of certain insect pest or disease on their fields. Finally, a farmer has the ability to track all farm costs and monitor farm’s profitability and productivity, which facilitates decision-making process.

With the simple but powerful Agrivi Farm Management software, every farmer can be a successful manager.

 

Text sources: FAO || Atlantic International Studies Organization || IITA

Image sources: One Acre Fund || Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research