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How Agriculture Is Booming In Africa

August 11, 2015

By Paul Homewood 


We regularly hear that it is places like Africa which are suffering most from climate change.

When we look at agricultural statistics, however, there is no evidence of this. On the contrary, as the official UN figures show, cereal production and yields, meat production and the gross value (at constant prices) of all agricultural output have all been rising steadily since 1970.


There may be all sorts of reasons for this, but it is evident that, as far as agriculture is concerned, Africans are much better off than they were a few years ago.



africa cereal

africa cer yld



  1. AndyG55 permalink
    August 11, 2015 9:55 am

    “Africans are much better off than they were a few years ago.”

    And as they gradually build their supply of RELIABLE, CONSISTENT energy supply , which can only ne obtained by fossil fuels (unless you are can manage hydro or nuclear), their standard of living will continue to increase.

    Fossil fuels, with their reliability and consistency will be the mainstay of human development for many years to come.

  2. August 11, 2015 10:36 am

    There has been a recovery in crop outputs in north Africa but the FAO has pointed out that failing rains and extended dry spells, possibly caused by El Nino, are seriously impacting production in sub-Saharan Africa.

    “Cereal production in 2015 is forecast below last year’s bumper crop, largely reflecting a sharp reduction in Southern Africa due to adverse weather. Delayed onset of seasonal rains in West Africa has also raised concern over production prospects. Similarly, in East Africa, lower outputs are forecast due to poor rains while the food security situation in South Sudan is very alarming, especially in conflict-affected areas. A rebound in North Africa’s cereal output, mainly wheat, is projected to prevent a steeper decline at the regional level, while a small increase is also forecast in Central Africa, despite persistent and disruptive conflicts.”

    The problem with Africa is that food production is much more local than the US and EU. A California-style drought could wipe out a smaller African state’s economy due to a question of a lack of money. If all the crops in Britain failed one year we’d simply import to feed the population. In many African states this isn’t possible – due to the simple question of money.

    We are told that an increase in world temperature will only exacerbate the problem

    • August 11, 2015 12:47 pm

      The dry weather in sun Sahara is more likely due to cold N Atlantic SST’s. Remember that when the world was warmer A few thousand years ago, the Sahara was much wetter.

  3. August 11, 2015 10:38 am

    Excellent analysis, Paul. Very true! Yes, and agriculture development is still in its infancy in most of the continent! But how to stop the Chinese owning all the best land at the expense of the people living there?

    @AndyG55, PV prices have fallen to such a degree (panel prices well under $1000/kW and heading towards $500) and the sun shines so well in most of Africa, that PV is a very strong contender for electrifying the almost un-electrified continent.

    With the advent of mobile telephones and their spectacular cost reductions, noone would even dream of advocating fixed wire telephoney in any part of Africa north of the SA border, these days.

    So it is with most of rural Africa which will probably never see anything like an OECD-type “national grid”. These technology developments are being led by the USA, causing uncomfortable transformational change in the whole utility business.

  4. cheshirered permalink
    August 11, 2015 11:06 am

    It has nothing to do with Africa and everything to do with an editor wanting someone to be on the ‘front line’ of climate change, being ‘hardest hit’ by climate change or ‘insert a terrifying headline here’ impacted by climate change. In other words, it’s complete bullshit.

  5. August 11, 2015 12:05 pm

    Paul, it would be interesting to see the raw productivity on a per capita basis. I wouldn’t be surprised if per capita food production has fallen. Certain African countries, like Egypt, are heavily dependent upon food imports.

  6. August 11, 2015 12:49 pm

    These data would show a beautiful correlation with carbon dioxide emissions; certainly better than the correlation with temperature.

    Of course they are only slightly more obviously related to the carbon dioxide level than is the temperature, but what fun for the “believers”. If land-productivity fell it would certainly be AGW!

  7. August 11, 2015 12:58 pm

    my grandfather had a farm in South Africa.Since I can remember,we always battled with droughts.Then a few years of good rains would come and then the whole cycle of drought would start all over again.It was regarded as a natural phenomenon.

  8. August 11, 2015 6:59 pm

    One 3x,
    One 2x,
    One 1.75x

    Population since 1970 – greater than 3x

    If food is necessity for life and below the population growth rate, not certain ‘booming’ is the correct description for agriculture.

  9. August 11, 2015 8:53 pm

    According to Freeman Dyson the increase in CO2 level has led to about a 25% increase in plant growth compared to the 70’s.
    see youtube interview

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