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Publication | 29 June 2021

How will African farmers adjust to changing patterns of precipitation?

Agriculture is critical to Africa’s economic growth and development, generating more than one-fifth of sub-Saharan Africa’s economic output. But much of African agriculture lags behind more developed systems. Very little cropland is irrigated (African livestock and cropping systems are 95 percent rainfed), the use of improved seeds and fertilizer is expanding but remains limited, and 50 to 85 percent of farming work is done manually, without machinery or even draft animals.1 Because of these conditions, modernizing Africa’s agriculture and food systems is an effective way to improve the lives of millions in poverty and accelerate economic growth.