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The livelihoods of most food-insecure households worldwide are still largely based on agricultural activities.

The Challenge of African Agriculture

Growth in the agricultural sector has a much greater effect on food security than growth in any other sector. Agriculture can thus play a key role in many countries for accelerating overall economic growth and job creation — particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. But agricultural development would need to respect environmental challenges. Furthermore, for the poorest people social protection schemes are an essential part of food security, especially in conflict regions. For other households social protection can be a social safety net that enables them to invest and preserve productive capital during periods of crises, thereby increasing resilience.

How to achieve food security until ? How can agricultural production be increased sustainably? How can the impact of climate change or other stressors be mitigated?

Table of Contents

What are the future perspectives for smallholders and large-scale agro-investments, which interdependencies exist? Do we need a structural transformation in rural areas? Which mix of social, economic and technical policies is needed to reach different household and farm types in rural areas in order to support their different needs and potentials in an optimal way? How can the design and implementation of social protection schemes be improved to achieve both relief and longer-term objectives?

Female labor outcomes and large-scale agricultural land investments: macro-micro evidence from Tanzania Osabuohien, Evans S. Gitaud in: Land Use Policy 82 March , Policy options for improving drought resilience and its implication for food security: the cases of Ethiopia and Kenya Duguma, Mesay K. A hunger-free world in a war-torn one? Spatial development initiatives — potentials, challenges and policy lesson: with a specific outlook for inclusive agrocorridors in Sub-Sahara Africa Reeg, Caroline Studies Large-scale agricultural investments and smallholder welfare: a comparison of wage labor and outgrower channels in Tanzania Herrmann, Raoul published on World Development.

Cash transfers, food security and resilience in fragile contexts: general evidence and the German experience Camacho, Luis A. Results-based approaches in agriculture: what is the potential? From protection to reduction? Come on, donors, be courageous! Migration dynamics in sub-Saharan Africa — myths, facts and challenges Schraven, Benjamin in: Rural 21 50 2 , Cherry picking the reasons for hunger?

Sustainable Development Goals: Pick and choose - or integration at last? Beyond adaptation? Land ahoy! Stringer The Current Column of 14 September Donors and domestic policy makers: two worlds in agricultural policy making? Irrigation water management in Uzbekistan: analyzing the capacity of households to improve water use profitability Saravanan, V. Vlek eds.

Africa 2016 - Rethinking Agriculture

These on-farm trees provide numerous benefits—they increase soil fertility and provide fodder for livestock, fruit and leaves for human consumption, fiber, firewood, and materials for traditional medicines. But perhaps most importantly, farmers are seeing that these natural agroforestry systems are significantly improving crop yields. According to a report from the International Food Policy Research Institute IFPRI , new agroforestry systems on 5 million hectares throughout Niger have increased annual agricultural production by about , tons.

This is enough food to feed 2. Evidence also shows that in places where farmers have used simple water-harvesting techniques for some years, adding small quantities of mineral fertilizers helps boost yields. It is even likely that the situation will get worse due to rapid population growth and climate change.

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A few major opportunities include:. Capacity-Building: While agroforestry is the pillar of sustainable agriculture in the drylands, it still has not been sufficiently scaled up. Relief and development agencies should therefore make a bigger effort to promote agroforestry, particularly by building capacity for this type of farming. One way they can do this is by organizing study tour visits where farmers visit with other farmers who have increased their crop yields through agroforestry techniques.

Adapting national policies and forestry legislation: Scaling up agroforestry also requires action from local and national governments. Farmers will invest in trees when they perceive a clear right to those trees. However, in many countries in Africa, farmers have no legal rights to their on-farm trees. Forestry legislation does not mention agroforestry, and while most ministries of agriculture promote the cultivation of cereals, they say nothing about the value of on-farm trees.

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Government agencies and aid groups should also incorporate agroforestry into existing and new agricultural development projects. Communication and outreach: Finally, the Sahel has changed significantly during the past 30 years. In every country, farmers have innovated.

The Future of Food and Agriculture: Trends and challenges | Food Security Portal

Government officials, aid organizations, and farmers themselves should tap into existing communication channels to help spread the word about effective land and water management. For example, almost every farm family has access to at least one mobile phone. These families could use these phones to communicate with each other about market prices for agroforestry products and for cereals. Government and aid groups can help farmers gain access to these radio stations to communicate their knowledge and experience to broader audiences.

Reducing the need for famine relief in the Sahel is a major challenge. But as some examples show, this is a challenge that we have both the resources and knowledge to overcome. Food security can be achieved —but there is no time to lose. Get our latest commentary, upcoming events, publications, maps, and data.

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