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Fact 5: Sub-Saharan African agricultural cropland per capita exceeds cropland in the EU, but arable land per family/farm is seven times smaller than in the EU.


About 8.5 per cent of Sub-Saharan African land is used for agriculture. On average, 2,387 m2 per person are available which is slightly higher than in the EU (2,221 m2). Unfortunately, no statistical data exists about the area of agricultural cropland per Sub-Saharan farmer. Estimations predict that 85 per cent of all farmers in developing countries cultivate less than two hectares. In comparison, EU farmers’ cropland is seven times bigger. Another notable difference is that farmers in developing countries often do not have enforceable tenure on their cultivated land, which is often leading to conflicts.



Box: Agricultural produce in Sub-Saharan Africa

Many African farmers supply themselves and their families with self-produced staple food, which is called subsistence farming. Farmers grow roots, tubers and different kinds of crops on very small areas (usually less than 2 hectares).

According to the online database of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the ten quantitatively most important agricultural products are cassava, sugar cane, maize, yams, cow milk, plantains, wheat, rice, sorghum and tomatoes. Most of these products are traditional African staple food and not meant for export to Europe or other international markets.