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Research Report

Reconciling forest conservation with food production in sub-Saharan Africa: Case studies from Ethiopia, Ghana and Tanzania

Phil Franks
Xiaoting Hou-Jones
Daniel Fikreyesus
Messay Sintayehu
Simret Mamuye
Elijah Yaw Danso
Charles K. Meshack
Iain McNicol
Arnout van Soesbergen
Copyright Date: Apr. 1, 2017
Pages: 111
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 9-14)

    Drawing on case studies in Ethiopia, Ghana and Tanzania, this report examines the trade-offs between efforts to increase food production (in order to achieve and surpass food security goals) and forest conservation, and how these might be better managed in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). In terms of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), this is about the potential tensions between SDG2 and SDG15. Food security – one of the subjects of SDG2 – has four key elements: availability, access, utilisation and stability. This report addresses the element of availability, which depends on production, stocks, trade and food waste. The focus is on...

  2. (pp. 15-16)

    The study is framed by the following five research questions:

    1) How is forest defined and what is the current status of forests?

    2) How has the area of food-crop production and forests changed over time, and what have been the main causes of these changes?

    3) What likely future trends in domestic food demand and food production will drive deforestation over the next 35 years and what are the implications for forest conservation?

    4) What policies, laws, regulations, institutional and governance arrangements and processes influence planning and decision making on agricultural expansion and its impacts on forests?

    5) What...

  3. (pp. 17-40)

    According to the World Bank, Ethiopia’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by an average of 10.8 per cent per year between 2003/04 and 2013/14, more than double the regional average of 5.0 per cent. The services and agriculture sectors contributed most to this growth, followed by the manufacturing sector.⁴ Key poverty indicators have improved substantially; for example, the prevalence of undernourishment declined from 43.3 per cent of the population in 1992 to 25.2 per cent in 2014 (WDI, 2016).

    Agriculture is Ethiopia’s most economically important sector, with crop production and livestock constituting 27.4 and 11.1 per cent of GDP respectively...

  4. (pp. 41-63)

    Ghana has enjoyed steady recent economic growth, with an average annual GDP growth rate of about 7 per cent between 2000 and 2016. GDP growth slowed to 3.7 per cent in 2015, largely as a result of widespread power shortages, the rapid depreciation of the domestic currency, and falling global gold and oil prices. The key driver of economic growth is the services sector, which constituted 51.6 per cent of the economy in 2015, followed by industry at 28.4 per cent and agriculture at 20.1 per cent. Economic growth varies hugely across the country’s regions, with the lowest growth rates...

  5. (pp. 64-88)

    Tanzania has enjoyed strong economic growth in recent years. Real GDP grew by 7.3 per cent in 2013 and by 7.0 per cent in 2014 (World Bank, 2016). Agriculture is the largest employer, engaging around 70 per cent of the total population and contributing 24.5 per cent to GDP (URT, 2015c). Food crops constitute 65 per cent of agriculture sector GDP, and the cereal sector produces 5–19 per cent more than basic cereal consumption requirements (FAO, 2013b). Maize is the most important food crop, comprising 20 per cent of agricultural GDP, followed by rice, beans, cassava, sorghum and wheat...

  6. (pp. 89-96)

    Despite steady yield increases, all three case-study countries continue to expand their agricultural land to meet fast-growing food demand. The extent to which increasing demand is met through area expansion and yield increases varies. In the period 1980–2013, Ghana boosted cereal production more by increasing yields than by expanding area; in Ethiopia, the two factors made a more or less equivalent contribution; and, in Tanzania, the increase in cereal production came much more from area expansion than yield increases. Figures 6, 14 and 18 show that, in the 20 years to 2014, Tanzania remained on a similar trajectory to...

  7. (pp. 97-97)

    The question of how to reconcile goals of forest conservation and food production in the three case-study countries reflects a broader issue of tensions between some of the SDGs, notably SDG2 and SDG15. There appear to be a number of disconnects within and between key sectoral policies and strategies that, with the exception of Ethiopia’s CRGE strategy, are not addressed in overarching policies. As shown in this report, there are also disconnects between policy and planning processes at different levels, from local to global. Often these disconnects relate to risks and trade-offs that have been overlooked or underestimated. There are...