This collection of 33 African case studies counters dominant narratives about agricultural investments and land–grabbing and shows the potential of agroecological methods to raise incomes, sustain productivity, improve livelihoods, and adapt to climate change. These examples can be used to show that Africans have found successful solutions to their own problems. The Oakland Institute organized these cases in collaboration with partner organizations and researchers.
These case studies present evidence that agroecology can provide better yields, pest management, soil fertility, increased biodiversity, and increased farmer incomes compared to conventional farming. The intent of this work is to challenge the dominant narrative around food production that pressures the national government to privilege foreign investment over local natural resource management through agroecology. It seeks to build credibility for farmers’ lived experiences, which are often overlooked by research institutions and academics.
Frédéric Mousseau, the policy director at the Oakland Institute, told a story about a man named Zephaniah Phiri from Zimbabwe. Zephaniah faced extreme barriers to planting and growing, such as an apartheid government, unequal land distribution, and poor land quality. Despite it all, he managed water in such a way that he could plant a piece of dry land with dozens of plants and trees and became nationally and internationally known for it. Before his recent passing, Zephaniah achieved incredible success and showed the resiliency and determination of family farmers.