HORTICULTURE IS A KEY ISSUE FOR AFRICA
The specific role of horticulture in food security through nutrition security and in poverty alleviation through income generation is now recognized particularly in Africa (Ganry, 2007). This has requested a long time and lots of efforts, and a lot remains to do considering the very poor attention given to this sector by governments and funding agencies. In spite of this recent recognition, the current availability of fruit and vegetables (F&V) that is very low in Africa (Ganry, 2009), the lowest in the world with very prejudicial consequences in terms nutrition and health but also in terms of income generation mostly for smallholders. In addition there is a lack of refined data on these crops and on their exact contribution to secure incomes mostly for smallholders. Yet horticulture is offering great development opportunities as experienced in some countries that have already invested in this sector such as Kenya, Ethiopia, or Ghana. However, the situation is far different in other countries where agriculture is dominated by staple foods and industrial crops. Horticulture is not without presenting important risks, which could become constraints for its development if not properly addressed and managed. There are phytosanitary risks from emerging pests and diseases: greening disease for Citrus, fruit flies for F&V, and all kinds of vegetable pests and diseases that explain the highest use of pesticides in agriculture thus threatening both environment and consumers health. Commercial risks are crucial due to perishability of horticultural produce and seasonality of the production, highlighting the role of infrastructures for transportation and storage to reduce post harvest losses. With the globalization of food habits there is an additional risk of loosing not only indigenous species of F&V (aromatic and medicinal plants as well), but also indigenous knowledge and practices for producing, processing and using them (Grubben and Denton, 2004; Schmelzer and Gurib-Fakim, 2008).
Ganry, J. and Kahane, R. (2011). HORTICULTURE IS A KEY ISSUE FOR AFRICA. Acta Hortic. 911, 33-36