Scaling Agroecology in the Sahel: Good Practice

A new briefing for civil society presents key strategies for upscaling and outscaling agroecology in the Sahel to address the climate and food crises. It outlines pathways not just for the what of these scaling processes, but also for the how.

Photo: CIKOD

Groundswell International publishes a new briefing on how to upscale and outscale agroecology in the Sahel in West Africa.

The briefing starts from an integrated approach, combining agroecology with women’s self-empowerment, nutrition, equity and governance. It outlines concrete steps in three general strategies for how civil society organisations can successfully support processes to scale up agroecology:

  • Follow a progressive proces
  • Ensure equity in the scaling process
  • Transform governance and let communities lead

Evidence is mounting of the role that agroecology can play in responding to the food and climate crises. With that, the need for spreading and scaling agroecology is becoming more urgent. We can’t be content with islands of success or scattered initiatives. But only a few good, practical experiences were documented on how to scale or amplify agroecology in the Sahel. Moreover, little is known about the needed steps and pathways for how civil society can support these processes.

Sowing sorghum in Senegal

The briefing, based on decades of experience, responds to this gap. It is a crucial area of learning, because scaling agroecology is necessary to transform the global agricultural and food system. Climate change is already having a huge impact on food production, food security and people’s lives around the world – especially the most vulnerable who have done the least to contribute to it. This crisis is felt especially in the Sahel, where a growing percentage of the people have become chronically vulnerable to food and nutrition insecurity.

The briefing is written by Peter Gubbels (Groundswell West Africa) and Janneke Bruil (Cultivate!) for the Global Resilience Project. It is based on interviews and experiences of Groundswell’s partners in West Africa and follows a longer, in-depth case study on scaling agroecology in Mali, Senegal and Burkina Faso, developed by the same authors.