More than 200 million Africans are undernourished. Unlike other regions where inadequate food supply is a result of inequalities and poor distribution, food insecurity in Africa is primarily a result of the lack of adequate food production. One of the major reasons that so many Africans do not have access to enough food is that crops are grown in fields with utterly depleted soil. The land has been over-farmed and few subsistence framers can afford to use fertilizers (see map), which in parts of Africa can cost nearly four times as much as they cost in North America or Europe. A Green Revolution has preceded virtually every economic takeoff in modern history, from Britain's original Industrial Revolution--preceded by its agricultural revolution--to Asia's boom in the 1970s and onwards. A twenty-first century Green Revolution in Africa and in bypassed regions in Asia and Latin America would include several components all working together. Central to this new Green Revolution is improving soil health through a combination of applying fertilizers--using fertilizer trees, mineral fertilizers, green manures, cover crops, and crop residues to replenish soil nutrients.

In the MV Sim, using fertilizer boosts yields of maize and cotton. Moreover, continuous farming for several seasons without fertilizer or fallow will deplete soil nutrients and compromise yields.

For more information:
UN Millennium Project Task Force on Hunger