In Africa, agriculture is an important driver of rural development and a source of livelihood that continues to lift millions of people out of poverty. With climate change and threats to food security dominating various development discussions, both producers and policymakers are starting to shift their focus on having a plan to adopt sustainable agriculture approaches in Sub-Saharan Africa
As a result, leaders, innovators, policy makers, producers and other key stakeholders in the agricultural production and value addition factors are focusing their efforts in pursuit of agricultural sustainability. This is leveraged by the adoption of sound investments in the development of infrastructure, improved yields, reduced costs, and climate change adaption and mitigation measures that will, in turn, increase productivity.
In meeting agricultural sustainability, green revolution-based approaches have been embraced. These methods include development, training, and research institutions seeking to empower farmers to integrate a healthy environment, economic profitability, and social and economic equity in order to play a key role in ensuring a sustainable agricultural system. In addition to these, the role played by strategic partnerships cannot be overlooked since they have helped scale-up proven practices and strengthen advisory and policy frameworks.
Sustainable agriculture advances best methods that in turn boost soil health, minimize water use, and lower pollution levels. There is also a cost-effective aspect that has a positive influence on the livelihoods of rural people by increasing agricultural productivity and securing their incomes.
Deteriorating soil fertility is the greatest concern affecting African farmers’ ability to produce enough food for their families. Sustainable agriculture enables more resilient systems that enhance management and lowers production cost. This farming method enhances soil regeneration – an aspect that is key to sustainable food production, reduced soil erosion, retention of organic matter and building soil structure. In developing countries, food production and diversification could be doubled or tripled through sustainable agriculture.
Environmental protection and good natural resource management are keys to sustainable agriculture. A good example of an environmental conservation model for sustainable agriculture in Kenya was dubbed “Promoting sustainable livelihoods in Kenya’s Mau Forest Complex”. This was a Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) project that promoted sustainable agriculture around the Mau forest complex while advocating for the conservation of the environment as well as enhancement of food production and livelihood security for vulnerable communities.
A report published by FAO concerning Kenya’s Mau Forest Complex noted that 24 farmer field schools were set up with members of the community forest associations and these trained over 800 men and women on viable ways to earn a living while protecting forest resources.
Regarding the challenge of youth unemployment, sustainable agriculture taps into youths’ potential and creates a network of young motivated farmers in an attempt to build interest in the field of agriculture. Such networks address common challenges faced by young people especially unemployment as it provides long-term sources of income.