Sustainable Land-Use and Agriculture

Our Sustainable Land-Use and Agriculture portfolio combines an approach to land management that sees the restoration of agricultural landscapes and the protection of biodiversity and ecosystems as part of a broader adaptation strategy on the continent.
Aerial view of rows of farming land scattered abstractly with trees

Restoration of Agricultural Landscapes and the Protection of Biodiversity and Ecosystems

Agriculture is arguably the most important sector for Africa as a creator of employment opportunities, contribution to export revenues and to food security. For the ACF, it is also the most vulnerable sector to climate change and land degradation, a relationship made worse through dependency on industrial agriculture. Through this portfolio, regenerative agriculture is positioned as an alternative that improves the resilience of the sector in light of shocks. Agriculture alone can’t change without the transformation of food systems more broadly, which is why this portfolio incorporates other food system actors. The transformation of food systems has the potential to also improve food security, increase employment opportunities and reduce the sector’s impact on climate change and biodiversity loss. Africa has immense biodiversity and natural ecosystems, which provide countless services to the continent. The protection of these ecosystems is vital in improving adaptation options in Africa and in creating sustainable economic opportunities for people who rely on them.

Sustainable Agriculture

The ACF’s entry point for sustainable agriculture is in the scaling of regenerative agriculture across the continent. Regenerative agriculture is an approach to farming that improves the soil conditions (increasing soil carbon and organisms) and produces nutritious food. These systems have the potential to sequester carbon, rehabilitate land, increase food production, create quality employment and make farming systems more economically resilient all while using less land to do it. To this end, we are working to not only support smallholder farmers in the scaling up of regenerative practices but are also enabling large scale industrial farmers to transition towards regenerative agriculture.

Farms are, however, part of a broader and diverse system of how food is produced and consumed. Our current food systems are vulnerable to shocks like COVID19 and climate change. They are also failing on several key sustainable development goals. Mere reforms in food systems have not had the desired effect of reducing food and nutrition insecurity, which is why food system transformation is required. Food system transformation addresses the root causes of food insecurity such as ensuring actors in the food system get fair incomes for their services, opportunities arise to engage in trade that meets domestic and international needs, and finance being directed to the places they’re most needed. It also means limiting the impact that economic and environmental shocks have on producers.

To this end, agroecology is the ACF’s point of entry in food system transformation. It is an approach that allows for custom made production systems to be used in transforming food systems.

Sustainable Land-Use

Africa’s rich variety in biomes provides its population with an incredible number of services. Flood protection, food production, and tourism are just a few of the services that sustain the livelihoods of millions on the continent. These ecosystems are however threatened by a myriad of factors that ultimately reduce society’s ability to bounce-back after environmental or economic shocks. The protection of these ecosystems and the biodiversity that underpin them is crucial to Africa’s adaptive capacity to deal with these shocks. Traditional approaches to conservation have also not had the desired impacts of improving socio-economic conditions or preserving biodiversity.

Our Approach to Sustainability

The ACF realises that people must be the entry point to sustainable land-use as we question how human and natural landscapes can flourish side-by-side. We also need to address how conservation is financed and interrogate new approaches such as Payment for Ecosystem Service schemes alongside the governance practices that encompass them. While these address broad themes, Nature-Based Solutions are a relatively low-hanging fruit that can be leveraged to address and spotlight the ways in which people depend on natural and semi-natural ecosystems.

Our programme activities include:

Evidence-based narrative building:

Supporting localised data and driving
evidence-based narratives around socio-economic benefits of clean energy;
supporting strategy development and coordination; delivering actionable
implementation plans.


Providing targeted technical and institutional support to governments,
national and regional bodies.

Mobilisation and advocacy:

Coordinating multiple actors, including civil society
organisations, around clean energy opportunities and just transitions.

Coordinating philanthropic network:

Supporting the development of coordinated
strategies by the philanthropic community.

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