The rapidly evolving threats to food and farming systems — from climate shocks to pest stresses — make it more crucial than ever to ensure a continuous flow of knowledge and innovation. Agricultural research for development (AgR4D) is particularly important in sub-Saharan Africa, where climate threats are immediate and food insecurity remains high.
With unsustainable forms of intensification driving negative social and environmental impacts in Africa, and with COVID-19 revealing major vulnerabilities in food supply chains, agroecology is emerging as a viable pathway for building sustainable and resilient food systems. Agroecology combines different plants and animals, and uses natural synergies – not synthetic chemicals – to regenerate soils, fertilize crops, and fight pests.
Diversity in the field increases access to fresh and nutritious foods for communities and keeps traditional food cultures alive. Agroecology also improves farmers’ livelihoods through diverse income streams, resilience to shocks, and short supply chains that retain value in the community. In other words, agroecology has the potential to reconcile the economic, environmental and social dimensions of sustainability.