The Changing of the Tide: Africa's Agricultural Revolution

By: Dylan Rodgers

As the colossal drought continues in the Horn of Africa, humanitarian groups have been working frantically to gather enough funds to feed those stricken by this horrible, planetary 'disease'.  Both the Horn of Africa and the American South West are battling the repercussions from the worst, world-wide drought in recorded history, though the flexibility of the US to bend from a hit like this points to the differences in our multi-faceted industry and infrastructure.

This leads to the big question:  After the hungry are fed and the drought is over, what can be done in the Horn of Africa that will quell this from happening again?  Thankfully, this jigsaw puzzle entitled, "Economic Stability" already has some important pieces in place.

The Ethiopia Commodity Exchange is just one of many initiatives across the African Continent that is commercializing agriculture.  It is projected that 7 out of 10 Africans live off of the land.  Whether growing food for their families or selling products worldwide, the majority of Africans are on the production and capital end of the business (the side of the hardest work and the least pay), not to mention the copious corruption in some of Africa's leading industries.  The Ethiopian Commodity Exchange, along with the other trading groups, is slowly tipping those business scales back in Africa's favor by keeping the money right where it belongs.

Commodity exchanges not only open the available resources and technologies to a world market, they provide jobs for people with their native land's best interests.  If those traders come from say...  Ethiopia, then Ethiopia can exchange goods and capital that provide jobs for their people.  And with an ability to gain access to better technologies and a stronger economic infrastructure, African countries that are the hardest hit by rising food prices could turn this hurdle into their vehicle towards economic success.

As food prices continue to skyrocket with no end visible in the next 20 years or so, land capital (for purposes of farmland) has become the world's hottest commodity.  Africa is home to 200 million hectares, or roughly 45 percent of the planets uncultivated land.  Highly cultivated countries like China and India are running out of land though their expansion must continue to sustain their current system.

Africa now has what other countries want, and because they are establishing themselves as international commodity traders, Africans can not only keep more money in their countries, as developed countries invest in Africa's capital, the opportunity for better schools, hospitals, and technological advancement becomes far more attainable.

Photo: le_i

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