Mobilizing crop diversity for climate change adaptation and resilience: Field experiences from Africa
ISSD Africa Working Paper: Read diverse case studies exploring how crop diversification can result in positive livelihood
outcomes, such as food and nutritional security, income generation and good health.
Across Africa, erratic and less predictable rainfall, higher temperatures, heat spells, and recurring droughts are predicted to become more frequent. This is leading to a change of cropping seasons and growing cycles and occurrence of new pests and diseases. As a result of these irregularities and uncertainties, farmers can no longer rely on crops and crop varieties that used to do well, with negative impacts on nutrition and food security and the capacity of farmers to withstand shocks.
In recent years, a number of international initiatives have piloted various forms of support for novel
configurations of actors to work together to conserve and use agrobiodiversity in sustainable agricultural
production systems and to equitably share benefits derived from those activities. These configurations
operate at farm, community, national and international levels. Among these initiatives, Bioversity
International (now the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT) and partners have researched the
effectiveness of using agrobiodiversity, in particular in the form of crop and crop variety diversity, as an
The hypothesis informing this research is that crop diversification can result in positive livelihood
outcomes, such as food and nutritional security, income generation and good health. These outcomes, in
turn, could lead to (increased) resilience of rural households and communities to environmental, socioeconomic and climatic shocks. In this working paper, we present a number of case studies that to a
certain extent have “delivered” on this impact pathway. The case studies were compiled during the year
2020, the year that COVID-19 spread across the globe with devastating consequences for countries,
communities and households everywhere.