The Food and Agriculture organisation (FAO) has completed a study into how africa can become more nearly self sufficient in food by 1985, and it makes clear that the aim of self sufficiency within a decade would be extremely difficult if not impossible to achieve.
SV Mr. Jyoti Bhattacharjee, director of the Policy Analysis Division of the Food and Agriculture Organisation speaking in English.
BHATTACHARJEE:"To achieve these improved goals, investment in food and agricultural production will have to increase considerably. Investments on programmes like irrigation, dry-land farming, livestock, mechanisation and fishing development would amount to about 27,300 million dollars (13,650 million pounds) for the 15-year period 1975 to 1990. The use of fertilisers, pesticides, chemicals etcetera would have to treble to an annual level of nearly 6,000 million dollars (3,000 million pounds) in 1990. These represent orders of investment and annual outlays far above the present levels and these cannot be achieved wholly by the sacrifice and domestic efforts of the African countries. They will require a considerable amount of external assistance as well as technical assistance. On the other hand it is also clear that the African countries themselves will have to take a close look at their own policies and programmes, and these we have emphasised in considerable detail. It seems that there has been far too much of an urban orientation in food policy in theses countries. The result has been a burgeoning level of imports of commodities like wheat. There has not been enough incentive to small farmers, of the subsistent sector, to modernise itself, to develop their productive capacity. And there has not been probably enough of a development policy which tries to increase the share of agriculture in the national product. So we suggest that there should be a positive discrimination in the policies of these governments, in favour of agriculture. We believe that unless this is done, the foundation for accelerated economic development in Africa will not be laid."
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Background: The Food and Agriculture organisation (FAO) has completed a study into how africa can become more nearly self sufficient in food by 1985, and it makes clear that the aim of self sufficiency within a decade would be extremely difficult if not impossible to achieve. The report is optimistic, however, that with a strong will and appropriate measures, a 94 percent level of self sufficiency should be possible by 1985. The report is simply called "A Regional Food Plan for Africa", and it emphasises the seriousness of the African food situation, with production in recent years increasing at a lower pace than previously, and at a rate which does not keep up with population growth and demand. The report is to be discussed at the FAO's Regional Conference for Africa in Arusha, Tanzania, from 18 to 29 September. The Director of the FAO's Policy Analysis Division Mr. Jyoti Bhattacharjee describes how the aim of near-sufficiency for Africa may be pursued.