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Regreening Africa Aims to Resolve Land Degradation

In sub-Saharan Africa approximately 83% of people depend directly on land for survival. However, approximately two-thirds of the continent’s productive land is degraded – it has lost its productive capacity – to some degree. This is driven by years of overgrazing, inappropriate agricultural practices, extreme weather events and the conversion of forest land into farm land. The future doesn’t look promising either as Africa is the only continent where deforestation and forest conversion to agricultural land is on the rise. Fortunately, there is considerable global commitment to reverse and halt further land degradation. The Bonn Challenge, for instance, is a global effort to restore 350 million hectares of degraded land by 2030. There are also several important regional initiatives, such as the Africa Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100), which aims to restore 100 million hectares by 2030. Regreening Africa is funded by the European Union and led by World Agroforestry together with five non-govermental organisations (NGOs), the programme works directly with 500,000 households to restore one million hectares of agricultural land. The programme is happening in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal and Somalia. Regreening Africa works by supporting farming households to plant appropriate tree species on their farms and facilitate their natural regeneration. Farmers are linked to tree product value chains as an incentive. In addition, the project promotes other land restoration practices, such as intercropping, reduced tillage, soil erosion control structures and water harvesting.