22 June 2009, Rome – A vast stretch of African savannah land that spreads across 25 countries has the potential to turn several African nations into global players in bulk commodity production, according to a study just published by FAO and the World Bank.
The book, entitled Awakening Africa’s Sleeping Giant - Prospects for Commercial Agriculture in the Guinea Savannah Zone and Beyond, arrives at its positive conclusions by comparing the region with northeast Thailand and the Cerrado region of Brazil.
Changing the use of land in the Guinea Savannah to agriculture will inevitably bring some environmental costs, the study found, but that agriculture can also benefit the environment. As agricultural intensification takes place, governments must take care to monitor environmental impacts and implement measures to reduce or avoid damage. “Fortunately, there is a wealth of experience from other countries on which to draw,” said Guy Evers, Africa Service Chief in the FAO Investment Centre. The publication is a shortened version of a larger study drawn up by officials from the World Bank with technical advice from FAO experts and funding from Italy.
FAO press release 400 million hectares of Guinea Savannah land ripe for commercial farming