Agroecology, the Bold Future of Farming in Africa

  • 05th April 2018
  • by secretary

5 April 2018. Delegates of the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) converged on the high-level UN meeting in Rome, Italy, to beat the drum for Agroecology in Africa.

The 88 page illustrated book (2016) raises 15 case studies, showing how agroecology benefits Africa in terms of food and nutrition, livelihoods, restoration of biodiversity, knowledge and innovation, and climate change resilience.
Publisher: Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) & Tanzania Organic Agriculture Movement (TOAM)
Year: 2016
Country/ies: Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Togo, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zimbabwe
Content language: English
Author: Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa , Miguel Altieri, Mariann Bassey, Nnimmo Bassey, Million Belay, Lim Li Ching, Steve Gliessman, Bernard Y. Guri, Elizabeth Mpofu, Doreen Stabinsky, Olivia Yambi

Leading experts in their fields explain how agroecology reforms food systems to promote better nutrition and health, especially among poor communities; how it diversifies livelihoods and defends the dignity of women farmers; how it enables and empowers us to revive our soils and lands, cultivate relevant crops, advance food sovereignty, and build resilient ecosystems and communities; and how such innovative production systems, based on indigenous knowledge, meet the nutritional, cultural and spiritual needs of Africa’s people.

In Agroecology, the Bold Future of Farming in Africa, Afsa et Toam introduce a broad collection of agroecological initiatives and put forward recommendations to achieve a sustainable transition in agriculture.


  • Shift public support and subsidies away from industrial agriculture and towards agroecology.
  • Create holistic food policies based on nutrition security, climate change resilience, sustainability and agricultural biodiversity.
  • Use public procurement policies to support the transition to agroecology; for example, schools, hospitals, and public institutions could offer healthy food grown using agroecological practices.
  • Use agroecology to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Food Systems

  • Enable farmers to understand the political economy of farming and food, and strengthen farmers’ associations that are advocating the transition towards agroecology.
  • Build farmers’ and women’s knowledge and skills in managing small enterprises and marketing.
  • Strengthen local markets and marketing channels for local produce and ensure farmers have full access to these.
  • Shorten the food chain to enable producers and consumers to gain maximum benefit from direct interaction.
  • Stimulate and help community-based enterprises to thrive in the transition towards the new system.


  • Support agroecological research in collaboration with farmers to identify and tap the full potential of agroecology, as well as how to overcome the challenges in making the transition.
  • Shift the focus of agricultural research away from mere yield/productivity towards holistic agroecological indicators such as nutritional value, ecosystem biodiversity and services, climate change resilience, and farmer innovation.
  • Develop farming technologies that support small-scale application and innovation, use local resources in a sustainable manner, respect local cultures, and are low carbon and labour-saving.
  • Build upon widespread indigenous and local knowledge systems.


  • Strengthen and develop farmer managed seed systems, the main source of seeds in Africa.
  • Save endangered seeds and improve farmers’ varieties through farmer-centred systems like participatory plant breeding.
  • Secure the legal rights of farmers to freely save, share, exchange and sell seeds, and safeguard them from being victimised by laws that protect corporate intellectual property rights and trade in seeds.

Indigenous Knowledge

  • Rebuild and strengthen the cultural heritage and indigenous knowledge systems of African peoples.
  • Record and recognize indigenous and local knowledge in all learning platforms.
  • Strengthen the practice of farmer-to-farmer sharing and learning.
  • Make agroecology the foundation of agricultural extension services.
  • Introduce agroecology and nutrition into the curriculum at all levels of education from primary to tertiary.

Consumer Awareness

  • Raise widespread awareness among consumers about the nutritional and other benefits of agroecology.
  • Strengthen consumer associations that advocate a transition towards food sovereignty and agroecology.
  • Promote collaboration among policy-makers, farmers, and consumers’ organizations to ensure mass adoption of agroecology. In a world threatened by anthropogenic climate change, environmental degradation, hunger and poverty; in a world committed to ambitious sustainable development goals and to the phasing out of fossil fuels; now is the time to call a halt to life destroying business-as-usual food systems and begin the journey towards life-giving agroecology and food sovereignty.