Although many countries have made significant progress in the last decade, poverty and malnutrition continue to be major problems in Sub-Saharan Africa. Agricultural production increased to 12.3 percent of gross domestic product in 2009.
Yet, 72.9 percent of the population live on less than US$2 per day, 27.5 percent consume inadequate calories, and 23.6 percent of children under five are underweight. Increasing agricultural productivity can increase food availability and access as well as rural incomes. Rural areas are home to 75 percent of Africa’s population, most of whom count agriculture as their major source of income. Fortunately, Africa has experienced continuous agricultural growth during the last few years. However, much of the growth has emanated from area expansion rather than increases in land productivity. In most countries, future sustainable agricultural growth will require a greater emphasis on productivity growth, as suitable area for new cultivation declines, particularly given growing concerns about deforestation and climate change.