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Re-Imagining Africa’s Food Future at the Intersection of Agriculture and Conservation

By Alice Ruhweza & Jeff Worden

With more than half of the world’s acutely food insecure people living in Africa, achieving  food security is critical to the continent. Across Africa, agriculture is the primary source of livelihoods and the majority of households consume at least a portion of the food they produce. All too often, however, the way food is produced, distributed and consumed in Africa is at odds with the natural capital on which both people and wildlife depend. Unsustainable agricultural practices are driving biodiversity loss and leading to increased human wildlife conflict, land conversion and the loss of critical habitats, declines in water quality and quantity, soil degradation, and increased pollution. With Africa ‘s population expected to grow to 2.5 billion by 2050, there will be  even more growing pressure to convert more land for agricultural production, further threatening wetlands, forests, grasslands, soil health, freshwater and the resilience of the smallholder farming communities that depend on them.