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Climate change and food systems resilience in Sub-Saharan Africa

Climate change and food systems resilience

Edited by Lim Li Ching, Sue Edwards and Nadia El-Hage Scialabba
Published by FAO
Website: Earthprint (to purchase this book) or FAO website (to download a free copy)
2011, 448pp, ISBN 978 9 251068 762

To meet the demands of a growing population, global food production must increase. Climate change and food systems resilience in Sub-Saharan Africa outlines Africa's potential for intensifying production by practising 'ecological agriculture'. In Tigray, Ethiopia, crop yields have almost doubled using ecological practices, including composting, soil conservation, agroforestry and crop diversification. "Ecological agriculture holds significant promise for increasing the productivity of Africa's smallholder farmers, with consequent positive impacts on food security," the authors state.

Degraded soils and increasingly unreliable rainfall constrain agricultural production in many developing countries. Governments have responded by encouraging the use of chemical fertilisers but, due to escalating prices, the authors warn that this is not a sustainable approach to increasing productivity. According to the authors, ecological agriculture "offers farmers and their families a real and affordable means to break out of poverty and achieve food security." They add: "Farmers are able to reduce production costs by relying on renewable local resources that, at the same time, improve environmental services and increase yields."

With case studies that share practical experiences and lessons from across Africa, the book demonstrates how it is possible to produce sufficient food in a way that doesn't harm the environment. Chapters look in detail at organic agriculture, fair trade, compost making, maintaining local seed supplies, and water interventions.

Date published: August 2011

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