in some regions of Africa can potentially be expanded (FAO, 2009a). Projections indicate that a number of African countries could make much progress toward poverty reduction and food and nutrition security over the next 15–20 years by targeting policies and investment strategies that raise average crop yields by 50 percent, increase livestock numbers by 50 percent, and accelerate overall gross domestic product growth rates to 6.5–8.0 percent and the agricultural sector growth rate to 6 percent. Several experts agree that to achieve such a level of growth would require a commitment among African governments to reallocate up to 10 percent of their national budgets to agriculture, up from an average of 5 percent over the past decade continent-wide and only 4 percent in sub-Saharan Africa (African Union Report, 2008; World Bank, 2008). Although the growth performance implied above is high by historical standards, it is within the range of recent economy-wide and agricultural growth rates observed across Africa since the late 1990s (Runge et al., 2004; African Union Report, 2008; World Bank, 2008). Recent data also show that even agricultural production in sub-Saharan Africa grew at a rate of 3.5 percent in 2008 (FAO, 2009a). The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) and the Sirte Declaration on Agriculture and Water are at the heart of efforts by African governments under the African Union to accelerate growth and eliminate poverty and hunger. The main goal of CAADP is to help African countries to reach a higher path of economic growth through agricultural-led development that eliminates hunger, reduces poverty and food insecurity, and enables expansion of exports. As a program of the African Union, it emanates from and is fully owned and led by African governments (African Union Report, 2008).
A large number of scientific-based issues relating to agricultural sustainability have been discussed throughout this report. Most, if not all, of the findings could be argued to have relevance to nearly every country. However, the specific methods chosen and priorities for their use in Africa need to be determined primarily by local and regional contexts and needs, as well as costs, potential and timing for impact, national R&D capacity, and the ability to attract resources from development assistance agencies.
The committee recognizes that many of the findings and conclusions in this report concur with recommendations made in recent reports that include Realizing the Promise and Potential of African Agriculture (InterAcademy Council, 2004); Emerging Technologies to Benefit Farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia (NRC, 2008); Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD, 2009); and The World Report 2008, Agriculture for Development (World Bank, 2008). The commonalities among reports demonstrate that some sustainability principles and approaches are widely relevant, although, as discussed below, the details of implementation on the ground will be highly context specific. A series of science and technology recommendations to increase food security in Africa recommended by the InterAcademy Council (see Box 8-1) illustrate many of the commonalities in sustainability principles and the specific needs for the African context.
Further discussion and explanation of the recommendations in Box 8-1 can be found in the relevant sections below. The International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) reached many similar conclusions in its 2009 report (IAASTD, 2009). IAASTD is a multidisciplinary and multistakeholder effort that was initiated by the World Bank and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 2002. It evaluates the relevance, quality, and effectiveness of agri-