EcoAfrica is an integrated research project that will be conducted in a collaborative, multi-disciplinary manner and at a multiscale level. This holistic approach will be used to address diverse constraints faced by family-run farms in Africa today.
As such, it can make a meaningful contribution to certain critical issues by promoting agro-ecological measures such as diversification of farming activities and integrating biomass resource management into family farms and the agrarian system as a whole. This multidimensional approach will also take into account the human aspect, identifying the consequences of the agro-ecological solutions offered to the different beneficiaries while acknowledging issues of gender equality and the complexities of the fight against poverty.
The overall objective of the project is sustainable ecological intensification of family farming systems by means of improved resource use efficiency and optimized ecological processes. EcoAfrica will not only build on the pan-African network initiated by the BIOVA project (AURG/197/2012), but also on the multilateral research network of SPAD5, which was created in 2013 as a platform for collaboration between various institutional partners in Madagascar (FOFIFA, FIFAMANOR, University of Antananarivo), as well as between France (CIRAD, IRD) and other international partners (AfricaRice). The fact that the activities developed under BIOVA are still relevant today and that all of its proposed targets were achieved, demonstrates the ability of the Commission of the African Union to implement and monitor large-scale collaborative research projects.
EcoAfrica will consolidate and expand the scientific network already in place by promoting knowledge exchange between regional and international partners, including southern-hemisphere collaboration between Madagascar, Mozambique and South Africa; and northern-southern hemisphere collaboration with the addition of France, Belgium and Portugal, all of which is expected to have a ripple effect throughout Africa, especially sub-Saharan Africa. EcoAfrica represents a continuation of BIOVA project and will focus on consolidating the systems already in place, in addition to strengthening collaboration with South Africa, raising international visibility, and providing farming techniques for sustainable, ecological intensification in Africa.