Agroforestry

Bees play an important role in Africa’s agricultural system, where they pollinate 80% of flowering plants and one-third of food crops. The economic benefits of bee pollination are also clear: The yields of major cash crops, such as sesame and cotton, increased by 60% in Burkina Faso when bees pollinated them.

Effective agriculture needs effective fertilizers: They continually renew nutrients that crops remove from the soil and turn land that is otherwise unproductive into an income-generating asset. For most farmers across Africa, this key ingredient for boosting yields and incomes is prohibitively expensive because most fertilizers are imported.

In Malawi, food insecurity and malnutrition are increasingly relevant concerns for the rapidly growing population. 51.8 percent of Malawians experience severe food insecurities and in 2019, 3.4 million people were undernourished. What’s more, nearly 80 percent of Malawians rely on agriculture for their livelihoods, leading to a deforestation-causing land crunch.

Technological advances are rapidly improving the efficiency of agriculture. The incorporation of sophisticated, cutting-edge satellite imagery, robots, and temperature and moisture sensors are now helping make farming safer, more productive, and less environmentally harmful. For example, close monitoring of crop life cycles could help farmers use water, fertilizer, and pesticides in a more cost-effective and environmentally friendly way.

Bees and the honey they produce provide critical benefits to both the environment and rural farming communities across Botswana. People use honey as a natural sweetener and in the medical industry as a natural anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant agent.

The hilly landscape of Northern Maroua, Cameroon was once rich with tall trees and green fields. With sufficient rain, local farmers enjoyed consistent crop yields and herders grazed their healthy livestock. But in the last two decades, demand has increased for farmland, pasture, and firewood for cooking at the expense of forests and grasslands.

The 75,000-hectare Makuli-Nzaui landscape – located in the Southwest of Kenya’s Makueni County – supplies water to four of lifegiving rivers, the Kaiti, Thwake, Kikuu and Mwilu. This small area, only 13% of the county, supplies the water of nearly half the local residents and underpins the economic vitality of its rural and urban communities.

Benin's sacred forests, protected out of respect for traditional religious beliefs, are maintained by local communities throughout the country. But many of these areas are now degraded due to overexploitation for the forest products that they provide, the expansion of agriculture, and urbanization.

Rwanda is among the fastest growing countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Even with this breakneck pace of economic expansion, over 70% of the population makes a living from subsistence agriculture and natural resources like forests and rivers.  

With 85% of Ethiopia’s growing population engaged in traditional agriculture, the level of deforestation for the expansion of cropland, firewood or charcoal is growing, causing extensive soil erosion. As a result, soil fertility has declined to such an extent that local people now struggle to grow crops and raise livestock.  

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