Agroforestry’s role in food security for Africa

The role of agroforestry in meeting the challenge of producing more food for a growing population is the subject of an article on the website, How We Made it in Africa.

The article looks at how agricultural systems in Africa need to be transformed, environmental degradation reversed, policies and governance improved, and better access to markets established for small farmers. “The majority of Africans depend on small-scale farming systems for their livelihoods, but the agriculture sector in Africa is underdeveloped, with soils that are exhausted and few funds available to purchase fertilisers,” says the article.

Examples are provided of how integrating trees with agriculture, crops and livestock can achieve major gains in poverty reduction and food production while providing environmental stability.

In Cote d’Ivoire, the cocoa sector is being revived through a partnership between Mars and the World Agroforestry Centre. By rehabilitating ageing cocoa farms and providing high quality saplings and training in modern environmentally sustainable agricultural practices, already 150,000 farmers have increased their cocoa yields by an average of around 400 kg to 1,500 kg per hectare.

In Niger, farmer managed natural regeneration – where trees are allowed to grow back on farmland – has seen cereal yields increase by an average of 100 kg per hectare, contributing enough extra food to satisfy the needs of an additional 2.5 million people.

To provide greater nutrition in Cameroon, scientists and farmers have been working together to bring a range of valuable indigenous fruit trees into cultivation

Read the full story: Agroforestry offers potential for greater food security in Africa