Resource and Development:
In most African territories agriculture is still the most important single form of economic activity. Algeria, Gabon, Libya, Mauritania, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Zaire and Zambia are involved in agricultural activity, 80% of population being rural while agricultural products contribute 60% of total African export earnings.
There is a gradual change from subsistence farming to cash crop farming. Where agriculture does not stand first, mineral production is increasing. In South Africa, Egypt, Zaire and Rhodesia, manufacturing industry have contributed 20% of the nation's earnings in recent years, while in one-half of all other territories it contributes less than 10%.
Farming in the Rain Forest and Savanna Zones: In tropical Africa shifting cultivation and bush fallowing are followed. Shifting cultivation disappears when population rises above a certain level. Bush fallowing is now normal in many parts of tropical Africa, especially in West Africa. The crops grown vary according to climatic variations, especially rainfall. In the moist areas Root crops (Yam, Cassava, sweet potatoes) maize and rice are characteristic but if the rainy season is short, Guinea corn, millets and groundnuts are usual. In Egypt maize yield is higher due to irrigation. In south Africa, maize is a food crop as well as a fodder crop.
The high veld and zone between the Drekensberg and Indian ocean Natal, Lesotho and Swaziland are the chief producing areas. South Africa is the leading producer of maize in Africa, followed by Egypt. In Southern Nigeria yams, cassava, cocoyams, maize, beans, okra, peppers and palm oil as cash crops are cultivated. The crops of economic value include palm oil, palm kernels, cacao, coffee, bananas and rubber. In the coastal areas of West Africa, namely Nigeria, Zaire, Dahomey and Sierra Leone, palm oil and palm kernels are traditional exports.
Ghana and western Nigeria produce cocoa. West and Equatorial Africa, on the highlands of the East Africa-from Ethiopia to Usumbara in the northeast Tanzania coffee is grown. A high class Arabian coffee is produced in Ethiopia. The biggest producer of bananas are Ivory coast, Somalia, Angola, Cameroon, Guinea and Madagascar. Collecting wild rubber in Zaire and West Africa has declined and a few plantations are opened up in Liberia, in Nigerian delta and in southern Cameroon.