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Over the past 20 years, agricultural intensification was the main driver of agricultural growth in India while many African countries made use of agricultural area expansion to increase output. Click To Tweet

What may be learned from Africa and India on how they transform their food and agriculture sectors to provide affordable and healthy diets for all? And what are potential insights that may inform future strategic directions in food system strategies? These are the questions behind a food and agriculture policy research program reported here.

In 2020, India and Africa constituted around 35 percent of the world population and three-quarters of the world’s poor (World Bank, 2020). In 1980 population growth in India was 2.3 percent but came down to 1 percent in 2020, whereas in Africa it was 2.8 percent and only reduced to 2.5 percent. Africa’s population is expected to surpass India’s in 2022. The African agriculture sector needs to grow sufficiently to address the fast growing demand for food with diversified diets.

Comparing the agriculture sectors of India and Africa at an aggregate level would not be meaningful. Sectoral characteristics – such as natural resource endowment, production potential, agro-climatic zones, farming systems, the contribution of agriculture to GDP and the share of the workforce employed in agriculture – vary substantially within India and across Africa. Therefore, a comparison between Indian states and African countries may offer opportunities to study distinct agricultural growth trajectories. This analytical approach may help to identify lessons for mutual learning between and across India and Africa for the pathways towards sustainable and higher growth trajectories for improved food and nutrition security.