In Sub-Saharan Africa due to over-farming, population growth

In general, credit could be regarded as quite important to both male and female cultivators in order for them to obtain land, machinery, fertilizers, irrigation and high-quality seeds, and to hire labour (The World Bank, 2015). So, it seems that with access to credit comes access to technologies and knowledge. Access to credit obviously negates limitations of self-finance due to fluctuating yield resulting in fluctuating income, but it is also needed because of a certain level of uncertainty in agriculture (De Janvry and Sadoulet, 1995). Climate change is one of these uncertainties. It has a significant effect on agriculture as it affects both plant and animal health. Increased temperatures and changes in precipitation, are the main changes in climate affecting agriculture in Africa (Pereira, 2017).

Africa is particularly vulnerable to these changes because farming methods used remain largely rain-fed and underdeveloped, as most of the continent’s farmers are small-scale farmers with few financial resources, limited access to infrastructure and information. Thus they continue to rely heavily on the environment. (Ibid), such heavy reliance on can also be detrimental. For one, because levels of production are unpredictable without technologies, but also because of the widespread problem of soil erosion in Sub-Saharan Africa due to over-farming, population growth and unsustainable practices (Cypher and Dietz, 2009). Recent studies have found that some relatively simple and inexpensive methods can be employed to combat soil erosion, for example mulching and contouring. Unfortunately, these methods are not used enough, possibly because although inexpensive, it is still an additional cost. Also, there is still a lack of knowledge regarding sustainable agriculture and poor investment in infrastructure (Holden, 2017).

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In summary, access to credit and investment in infrastructure including agricultural education is key for an increase of productivity in this sector. However, urban bias may play a role in the neglect of the agricultural sector (Lipton, 1977). According to this theory, most economic strategists and policy makers are far removed from rural life. They have little to no knowledge of day to day life in rural areas and are usually educated in Western institutions resulting in a wider alienation. This results in development being equated with industrialisation (predominantly urban based). A sample of 18 developing nations was taken and the results showed that overall, the governments imposed policies were to the disadvantage of the rural population, but advantageous to the urban population (Schiff and Valdés, 1992).

This could be where the lack of adequate investment in infrastructure comes from.


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