Driving agricultural development to alleviate poverty in African countries
We work with governments, enterprises, and research institutes in China and Africa, as well as regional and international organizations, to help African smallholder farmers improve their productivity, nutrition, and income.
Three-quarters of the world’s poorest people are smallholder farmers. Most of them live in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, and many suffer from malnutrition and starvation. Their crop and livestock yields are often far lower than those of their counterparts in other developing regions, and they often lack access to markets that could bring them a fair price for their crops. Regional conflicts, climate change, and economic recession threaten to exacerbate these longstanding inequalities.
Agriculture is high on our foundation’s agenda because agricultural development is a proven way to help people climb out of poverty. Decades of development experience in China and other countries have shown that growth in the agricultural sector is more than twice as effective at reducing poverty than growth in other sectors, especially for impoverished rural areas. China has a wealth of expertise in agricultural research and technology extension systems that can help other developing regions. Approaches ranging from crop improvement to the application of new farming models have the potential to improve the food security and nutrition of local farmers while increasing their income.
Heavy upfront inputs, high climate-induced risks, and the long payback cycles of agricultural investments have long hampered efforts to make a difference in developing regions through agricultural investment. As a private philanthropic foundation, we are uniquely positioned to share risks with governments, the private sector, research and development entities, and financial institutions. Together, we can develop and deliver products, technologies, and programs that are urgently needed in low- and middle-income countries and help farmers grow nutrient-rich, high-yield crops that can advance agricultural development in sub-Saharan Africa.
We work with the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) on joint rice seed breeding systems in West Africa that aim to develop new high-quality, high-yield breeds that are resistant to stresses such as drought and salinity. The program allows China to use its expertise to produce rice seed varieties that are adapted to local conditions and to enhance extension systems. This, in turn, helps African countries establish modern seed systems that integrate rice seed breeding, production, and extension. We have also supported CAAS’s efforts to help African countries establish early warning systems for new pests such as desert locusts and fall armyworms. Working with partners such as the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and CAAS, we conduct policy research and promote international exchanges, deepening cooperation on agricultural sciences between China and African countries.
We also focus on helping smallholder farmers improve their income by participating in the food value chain. In partnership with the United Nations World Food Programme, we help China provide training in processing and storage and establish small-scale processing and storage systems in African countries to help reduce post-harvest losses and improve rice quality.
Learn more about the foundation’s global efforts in agricultural development