Climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic and war in Ukraine pushed an additional 50 million people in Africa into extreme poverty, last year.
A combination of extreme weather events, the disruption caused by the pandemic, and the spiralling costs of food, fuel and fertiliser that were triggered by the war in Eastern Europe reversed years of progress in the fight against poverty, and took to more than 278 million the numbers of extreme poor in Africa.
Most of these people live in rural communities. Most of them live on land that has the potential to produce much more than it does at present. It makes our work more important than ever.
Improving systems of production will provide Africa’s 30 million small-scale farming families with the opportunity to produce more food and earn more from the land than they do at present.
At Self Help Africa, we will launch a new five-year strategy in Spring 2023 that will redouble our efforts to support rural farming communities to sustainably produce more and earn more from small farms, in the face of changing climate. We will support the crucial small-scale farming sector that is responsible for producing up to 70% of Africa’s food. Here’s some of the ways how:
- Introducing ‘climate-smart’ farming methods will help households to grow the food that they need in the face of a warming planet. This approach is essential also to preventing land degradation and restoring fragile eco-systems.
- Promoting new crop varieties, new farming methods, and providing farmers with access to better quality seed will enable families to grow more and earn more from their land.
- Organising farming households into producer groups and cooperatives, developing markets for farm produce, and supporting measures that add value to farm production will help families boost incomes, will create new jobs, and will provide opportunities for young people to live and thrive in rural Africa.
- Supporting women – by providing access to farming inputs, to land, to markets and to small loans – will contribute to the creation of fairer societies, where women, who produce approximately 40% of Africa’s food, are better rewarded for their efforts.
The core focus of that work will be in sub-Saharan Africa, where agriculture is up to 11 times more effective at reducing poverty than other approaches.
At Self Help Africa, we believe in the power of community. We believe that for millions, the road out of poverty starts on a small farm.