Strengthening African agriculture
By supporting new scientific advances in human nutrition and food production and carrying forward our commitment to a Green Revolution in Africa, The Rockefeller Foundation is committed to reaching hundreds of millions of people with nourishing food while improving the sustainability of the global food system.
- 70%of sub-Saharan
Africans depend on agriculture for their livelihoods
- 90%of food
in sub-Saharan Africa is produced by smallholder farmers
- 60%more food
must be produced in the next 15 years, to meet the needs of a growing population in sub-Saharan Africa
We support a uniquely African Green Revolution to improve smallholder farm productivity while preserving the environment.
Results to Date
Since 2006, AGRA has supported more than 800 projects, including efforts to develop and deliver better seeds, increase yields, improve soil fertility, upgrade storage facilities, improve market information systems, strengthen farmers’ associations, expand access to credit for farmers and suppliers, and advocate for national policies that benefit smallholder farmers.
African smallholder farmers trained, financed, and equipped with technology
hectares restored for agricultural production
- 562new seed varieties
have been commercialized and marketed
Shared Success: Agricultural Transformation @10
The Shared Success photography collection offered genuine insight into the diverse range of farming communities and institutions that have been supported by AGRA and Rockefeller Foundation over the past decade. The collection captures the triumphs of men, women, and communities that have benefitted from the steady transformation taking place in Africa’s agricultural sector.
Food security is critical for both human welfare and economic growth in Africa. About 70 percent of sub-Saharan Africans depend on agriculture for their livelihoods—and smallholder farmers account for 90 percent of food production in sub-Saharan Africa. Yet, many farmers barely produce enough food to feed their families, leaving no money for investing in tools and technologies that could increase yields. As a result, increases in staple crop production, wide scale marketing of surpluses and value-added businesses have not been sustained in Africa as in many other regions of the world. By supporting new scientific advances in human nutrition and food production, and carrying forward our commitment to a Green Revolution in Africa, The Rockefeller Foundation is committed to reaching hundreds of millions of people with nourishing food while improving the sustainability of the global food system.
In 2006, The Rockefeller Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation partnered to launch the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), based on a shared vision that investing in agriculture is the surest path to reducing poverty and hunger in Africa. AGRA built on the lessons learned during almost a century of working on agricultural development and rural poverty. The initiative aimed to tackle the African agriculture problem by implementing more widespread use of high-yielding crop varieties. Additional work would focus on productive seed combinations, added soil nutrients from improved fertilizers, and involvement of farmers in breeding, testing, and selecting seeds suitable to Africa’s various regions.
AGRA also acknowledged that conditions in Africa were different from those in Asia and Latin America, requiring a different approach for the new Green Revolution. Given the poor soil quality in Africa, a key objective was promoting regenerative and biodiverse practices to protect the environment and to conserve and promote the diversity of African crops. It also took into account that most of the smallholder farmers are women and worked to ensure their access to land, appropriate technologies, and affordable finance.
As AGRA developed, the Gates and The Rockefeller Foundation partnership provided critical funding that allowed AGRA to expand its work. Strategically, the Alliance concentrated investment in the “breadbasket region” of four main countries: Ghana, Mali, Mozambique, and Tanzania. It also supported work in South Africa, Malawi, Zambia, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Nigeria, Niger, and Burkina Faso. Reflecting the historic pattern of the most successful Rockefeller Foundation initiatives, AGRA’s core funding expanded to include resources provided by governments as well as other agencies and international institutions.
In 2007, former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan became the first chair of the Alliance. By 2010, AGRA worked in 13 countries, pursuing a system-wide approach to stimulate gains in the quantity and quality of food crops in sub-Saharan Africa. Its Market Access Program resulted in greatly increased income and decreased food insecurity for farming families. Since 2012, AGRA is an independent organization, with its own board and governance structure whose approach and leadership are uniquely African.