Sub-Saharan African smallholder farmers face numerous agricultural obstacles — such as climate change and the environment, corporate commodification of food and unpredictable political environments — and farmers are finding it difficult to sustain agricultural livelihoods and output. The international community currently approaches these obstacles through biotechnology, a temporary solution that contributes to the overarching issues of food security. The authors of this Junior Fellows brief state that due to the intense privatization and monopoly surrounding intellectual property of biotechnology, international investment should be diverted toward an approach that addresses the root causes of food security in Sub-Saharan Africa. Taking into account the different geographic locations of farmers, the African Union should encourage information sharing to focus on crop variety and system improvements, and knowledge diffusion through the use of mobile technology to surpass geographical, social and political barriers; and implement a pan-African approach in order to increase the initial knowledge base with unconventional methods of adaptation and to gather information from unique ecological conditions. Reducing financial- and knowledge-based barriers for smallholder farmers will significantly improve crop output, growth and development — ultimately reducing food insecurity.

The CIGI Junior Fellows program at the Balsillie School of International Affairs provides masters level students with mentorship opportunities from senior scholars and policy makers. Working under the direction of a project leader, each junior fellow conducts research in one of CIGI’s program areas. This series presents those policy briefs that met CIGI’s publications standards.