The Untold Success Story: Agroecology in Africa Addresses Climate Change, Hunger, and Poverty

November 19, 2015

Oakland, CA—The Oakland Institute today released 33 case studies that shed light on the tremendous success of agroecological agriculture across the African continent in the face of climate change, hunger, and poverty.

“Released just two weeks ahead of the COP21 Conference in Paris, these case studies provide irrefutable facts and figures on how agricultural transformation–respectful of the farmers and the environment–can yield immense economic, social, and food security benefits while ensuring climate justice and restoring soils and the environment,” said Anuradha Mittal, Executive Director of the Oakland Institute.

“We are told over and over that Africa needs a new Green Revolution, more synthetic fertilizers, and genetically modified crops. These case studies debunk these myths and highlight the multiple benefits of agroecology, including affordable and sustainable ways to boost agricultural yields while increasing farmers' incomes, food security, and resilience,” said Frederic Mousseau, Policy Director of the Oakland Institute, who coordinated the research for this project.

The case studies bring forward a large variety of techniques and practices used to achieve these benefits: plant diversification; intercropping; the application of mulch, manure or compost for soil fertility; the natural management of pests and diseases; agroforestry; the construction of water management structures; and much more.

The success stories from all over the African continent have farmers—including many women farmers—in the driver's seat of their own development. Agroecology is not a one-size-fits-all set of practices. Rather, its techniques are adapted to meet specific needs and ecosystems. Farmers who practice agroecology are innovators and experiment to find the best solutions for themselves.

Agriculture, forestry, and other land use are responsible for nearly a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions from human activity. According to the International Panel on Climate Change, emissions from these sectors have almost doubled over the past 50 years, and could increase by an additional 30 percent by 2050. The use of synthetic fertilizers is the fastest growing source of agriculture GHG emissions, having increased 37 percent since 2001.

Ibrahima Coulibaly, President of CNOP-Mali and Vice President of the ROPPA (Network of Farmers' and Agricultural Producers' Organisations of West Africa) said, “Our governments must now take decisive steps to actually support agroecological practices instead of promoting industrial food production systems that are contributing to climate change while making farmers poorer and more vulnerable to market fluctuations and weather hazards. We need our governments to ensure our children a future in which they can feed themselves with nutritious food in a healthy environment.”

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