NEW FAO REPORT. Organic Agriculture: African Experiences in Resilience and Sustainability

The new report can be found in its entirety here.


This publication, Organic Agriculture: African Experiences in Resilience and Sustainability, demonstrates that organic management can benefit people, the economy and ecosystems and that this can be achieved in Africa, where hunger and degradation stubbornly persist, despite decades of development efforts.

The work presented in this volume stems from the conference on Mainstreaming Organic Agriculture in the African Development Agenda, held in Lusaka, Zambia, from 2 to 4 May 2012. Participants of this Conference shared research results confirming that organic agricultural practices “increase yields, improve livelihoods and food security, conserve indigenous knowledge, plant varieties and animal breeds, as well as sociocultural development, and provide much greater resilience in times of climate extremes, such as drought and heavy rains.”

This publication expands on selected research presented during the Lusaka Conference. The different chapters document sustainability experiences, including: mainstreaming organic agriculture into African development approaches; community-based livestock systems combining holistic range management; indigenous ethno-veterinary practices and new understanding of customary systems of resource management; ecofunctional intensification through management of legumes, systems of rice intensification and integrated farming; and smallholders’ knowledge harnessed through family farmers learning groups and customized information and communication technologies.

The studies from different Sub-Saharan countries demonstrate that successful organic farming is about whole farm management, where feeding the soil feeds the plant, where optimal nutrient cycling is achieved through plant and animals management in time (i.e. rotations) and space (i.e. associations) and where quality production goes hand-in-hand with market linkages. Sound agronomy is a recipe that needs to be owned by farmers who have specific cultures and by pastoralists who have specific environments: traditional knowledge and flexible management strategies are therefore key for successful outcomes.