Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Africa

The 54 countries in Africa – from the dry northern African nations, through those in deserts and rainforests, all the way to the temperate parts of South Africa – are hugely varied in their ethnic, cultural, climatic, geographic, and economic aspects. The continent’s population of over a billion inhabitants, with a median age of 19.7 years, is the youngest in the world. Due to both its localised epidemics of hunger and its huge untapped agricultural potential, Sub-Saharan Africa specifically is a key focus area for many NGOs and development agencies interested in food production and security.

8 May 2017

This book explores the potential benefits of Multifunctional Agriculture to the social, economic and environmental sustainability of tropical agriculture and its potential to deliver the new Sustainable Development Goals.

Photo: natalienicolecrane, fishing at lake victoria, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0 generic.
8 May 2017

A common hypothesis used to link declining human health to environmental outcomes predicts that illness will reduce human populations or harvest effort, thus benefitting the environment. When investigating the behaviour of fishers around Lake Victoria in Kenya, this research found little evidence that illness reduced fishing effort to indirectly benefit the environment. Instead, ill fishers shifted their fishing methods – using more illegal methods concentrated in inshore areas, that are less physically demanding but environmentally destructive.

28 February 2017

This is a new book on the concept of sustainable intensification in the context of smallholder agriculture.

10 January 2017

In this evidence review, co-written by FCRN member Ken Giller, the authors assess the extent to which agronomic fortification, the application of micronutrient fertiliser to crops, can improve the nutritional quality of diets in sub-Saharan Africa. They find that, while the technique has been shown to be effective in increasing the nutritional content and yield of crops, more research is required to establish the degree to which it can alleviate micronutrient deficiencies in humans.

15 December 2016

An engineering project aims to produce food, energy and fresh water from solar power and seawater by using a new combination of already established technologies. The Sahara Forest Project is run in desert areas of Qatar, Tunisia and Jordan.

Photo credit: Neil Palmer, CIAT, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
29 November 2016

This study models the water demand of land acquisitions in Africa as a function of crop choice, local climate, and irrigation scenarios. Its authors distinguish between green and blue water, equating to water from rainfall and that provided to crops by irrigation respectively. 

Photo: Flickr, Juan Salmoral, Creative Commons License 2.0
16 September 2016

In a 2013 TED talk entitled ‘How to fight desertification and reverse climate change’ the Zimbabwean ecologist, Allan Savory, claimed that the ‘holistic management’ grazing management method that he has developed and promoted over 40 years, could stop global desertification and reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide to preindustrial levels, within a few decades.

23 August 2016

This report provides a developing country perspective on rural-urban linkages in food systems. It examines the role of rural-urban linkages in fostering inclusive and sustainable food systems, focusing in particular on sub-Saharan Africa.

Photo: Bernard Dupont, Green Savannah, Flickr, Creative Commons licence 2.0
23 August 2016

In parts of the world such as sub-Saharan Africa, significant agricultural expansion into natural ecosystems is predictable and likely unavoidable. This study presents a newly developed modelling tool, designed to provide quantitative answers to problem of how agricultural expansion could be located in ways that meet agricultural production goals, but which incur substantially lower losses of carbon and biodiversity than conventional agricultural development pathways.

Photo: glennhurowitz, Palm oil plantation encroaching on forest, Flickr, Creative commons licence 2.0
1 August 2016

This study warns that converting Africa's tropical forests into monoculture palm plantations will cause a significant spike in carbon emissions and highlights that regulation can assist in achieving net-zero carbon while meeting production goals.

24 July 2016

This report by the African Centre for Biodiversity argues that the Farm Input Subsidy Programmes (FISPs) have not achieved their intended goals in a number of African countries where they have been implemented. In its highly critical analysis the report argues that they consume large parts of agricultural and even national budgets and are largely ineffective social transfer schemes that create dependency.

(Photo: Neil Palmer (CIAT) Flickr creative commons licence 2.0)
7 July 2016

Innovative, climate-smart soil-management can be developed to improve soil fertility; these can increase agricultural production and food security while contributing to climate mitigation through carbon sequestration. The authors propose the solution of recreating conditions that lead to the formation of ADE (African Dark Earths).

1 April 2016

Through the integration of gender analysis into resilience thinking, this book shares field-based research insights from a collaborative, integrated project aimed at improving food security in subsistence and smallholder agricultural systems.

Photo credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture (Flickr, creative commons licence, Attribution 2.0 Generic)
1 April 2016

Poor households in developing countries are sometimes included in livestock programmes by humanitarian organisations whereby they are given a cow, a pair of oxen, or a herd of goats. This paper analyses the impacts on the food security of recipients in these kinds of programmes and finds that the effect is positive. 

1 April 2016

In this paper, researchers from a range of research institutions investigate the likely ‘transformational adaptations’ that will be necessary over the next century to maintain agricultural yields in sub-Saharan Africa.

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