Investment in agriculture must empower local communities.
Although the agricultural sector drives the economies of many African countries, commercial systems tend to neglect rural communities, providing limited access to these benefits or innovations. Many of these groups remain vulnerable to extreme weather conditions, food insecurity, and poor nutrition. Settled far from basic services and amenities, their livelihoods are restricted to small-scale agricultural activities with few opportunities to expand and little knowledge of more resource-efficient and reliable alternatives.
Conservation-centered agricultural practices boost livelihoods and restore ecosystems.
The agricultural practices that supported these communities in the past — from slash-and-burn cultivation and crop rotation, for example — are now driving the sector’s decline. Coupled with the long-term ecological impacts of chemical-heavy farming systems, these unsustainable practices contribute to land degradation in many wildlife-rich landscapes across the continent. The situation is exacerbated by changing weather patterns and unstable sociopolitical dynamics. To protect the value of Africa’s wild lands, protected areas, and conservation zones, we train farmers in practices and technologies to deliver higher yields, and provide climate-smart crops, tools, and know-how to transform their agricultural ventures — whether they are sugarcane farmers, livestock herders, or fishermen — and facilitate access to new markets.