1st Edition

Farming Systems and Food Security in Africa Priorities for Science and Policy Under Global Change

    674 Pages 291 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    674 Pages 291 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Knowledge of Africa’s complex farming systems, set in their socio-economic and environmental context, is an essential ingredient to developing effective strategies for improving food and nutrition security.

    This book systematically and comprehensively describes the characteristics, trends, drivers of change and strategic priorities for each of Africa’s fifteen farming systems and their main subsystems. It shows how a farming systems perspective can be used to identify pathways to household food security and poverty reduction, and how strategic interventions may need to differ from one farming system to another. In the analysis, emphasis is placed on understanding farming systems drivers of change, trends and strategic priorities for science and policy.

    Illustrated with full-colour maps and photographs throughout, the volume provides a comprehensive and insightful analysis of Africa’s farming systems and pathways for the future to improve food and nutrition security. The book is an essential follow-up to the seminal work Farming Systems and Poverty by Dixon and colleagues for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and the World Bank, published in 2001.

    Part I Introduction

    1. Africa through the farming systems lens: context and approach

    John Dixon, Dennis Garrity, Jean-Marc Boffa, Adama Coulibaly, Medhat El-Helepi, Chris Auricht and George Mburathi

    2. Methods and data sources

    Christopher M. Auricht, John Dixon, Jean-Marc Boffa, Harrij van Velthuizen and Günther Fischer

    Part II Analysis of farming systems

    3. Maize mixed farming system: an engine for rural growth and poverty reduction

    Malcolm Blackie, John Dixon, Maxwell Mudhara, Joseph Rusike, Sieglinde Snapp and Mulugetta Mekuria

    4. The agropastoral farming system: Achieving adaptation and harnessing opportunities under duress

    Jean-Marc Boffa, John Sanders, Sibiri Jean-Baptiste Taonda, Pierre Hiernaux, Minamba Bagayoko, Shadreck Ncube and Justice Nyamangara

    5. The highland perennial farming system: Sustainable intensification and the limits of farm size

    J.K. Lynam

    6. The Root and Tuber Crop Farming System: diversity, complexity and productivity potential

    Samuel Adjei-Nsiah, Godwin Asumugha, Emmanuel Njukwe and Malachy Akoroda

    7. The cereal-root crop mixed farming system: a potential bread basket transitioning to sustainable intensification

    Amir Kassam, Eric Kueneman, Rosemary Lott, Theodor Friedrich, NeBambi Lutaladio, David Norman, Martin Bwalya, Anne-Sophie Poisot and Saidi Mkomwa

    8. The highland mixed farming system of Africa: diversifying livelihoods in fragile ecosystems

    Tilahun Amede and Mulugeta Lemenih

    9. The tree crop farming system in the humid lowlands of Africa: stagnation, innovation and forest degradation

    Jim Gockowski

    10. The pastoral farming system: Balancing between tradition and transition

    Jan de Leeuw, Philip Osano, Mohammed Said, Augustine Ayantunde, Sikhalazo Dube, Constance Neely, Anton Vrieling, Philip Thornton and Polly Ericksen

    11. The fish-based farming system: maintaining ecosystem health and flexible livelihood portfolios

    Olivier Hamerlynck, Wanja Dorothy Nyingi, Jean-Luc Paul and Stéphanie Duvail

    12. The forest-based farming system: highly diverse, annual and perennial systems under threat

    Stefan Hauser, Lindsey Norgrove, Eric Tollens, Christian Nolte, Valentina Robiglio, and James Gockowski

    13. Large-scale irrigated farming system: The potential and challenges to improve food security, livelihoods and ecosystem management

    Timothy Olalekan Williams, Jean-Marc Faurès, Regassa Namara and Katherine Snyder

    14. The arid pastoral and oasis farming system: key centres for the development of trans-Saharan economies

    Mahamadou Chaibou and Bernard Bonnet

    15. Perennial mixed and island farming systems: exploiting synergies for maximum system productivity

    M. Mudhara, J.P. Lombard, A.R. Palmer and J. Dixon

    16. Urban and peri-urban farming systems: feeding cities and enhancing resilience

    Diana Lee-Smith, Gordon Prain, Olufunke Cofie, René van Veenhuizen and Nancy Karanja

    Part III Synthesis and conclusions

    17. Farming and food systems potentials

    John Dixon, Jean-Marc Boffa, Timothy Olalekan Williams, Jan de Leeuw, Günther Fischer and Harrij van Velthuizen

    18. Ways forward: strategies for effective science, investments and policies for African farming and food systems

    John Dixon, Dennis Garrity, George Mburathi, Jean-Marc Boffa, Tilahun Amede and Timothy O. Williams

    19. Conclusions: implementation of the farming systems approach for African food security

    Dennis Garrity, John Dixon and George Mburathi


    John Dixon is Principal Adviser Research & Program Manager, Cropping Systems and Economics, Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), Canberra, Australia.

    Dennis Garrity is Senior Fellow at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), based in Nairobi, Kenya, UNCCD Drylands Ambassador, and Chair of the EverGreen Agriculture Partnership.

    Jean-Marc Boffa is Director of Terra Sana Projects and Associate Fellow of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Nairobi, Kenya.

    Timothy Olalekan Williams is Regional Director for Africa at the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), based in Accra, Ghana.

    Tilahun Amede is Principal Scientist and Systems Agronomist at the International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Nairobi, Kenya.

    Christopher Auricht is Managing Director of Auricht Projects, a niche international consulting firm based in Adelaide, Australia.

    Rosemary Lott is Director of Vegetation Connections Pty Ltd, and an Assistant Director, Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Canberra, Australia.

    George Mburathi is a former FAO Deputy Regional Representative for Africa, Nairobi, Kenya.