Approximately 80% of Africa’s population depends directly or indirectly on agriculture for their livelihood, and although the agricultural sector provides 70% of Africa’s full time employment, it fails to feed the growing population of the continent. According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, ‘26 percent of the African population (more than 200 million people) are undernourished’. Recently rising food prices have worsened the situation and the United Nations is warning that ‘the 1st Millennium Development Goal - to halve hunger by 2015 - will not be met in Africa at current rates of progress. ’
This situation is largely due to an underdeveloped agricultural sector characterized by unproductive farming systems, lack of adequate human resources able to drive agricultural innovation, weak research capacity, the high poverty level of farmers, and inconsistent agricultural policies. The ACP regions are also seen as ‘incubators’ of many animal diseases, a risk to public health and global trade.
EDULINK projects tackle these issues by building capacities in higher education in a range of very specific issues faced by the agricultural sector across Africa and the Caribbean.