The State of the African Farmer

The State of the African Farmer report has been produced as a contribution to the great debate on agriculture and food security in Africa. It is a compilation of views and voices of farmers, practitioners, policymakers and academics across Africa and beyond, each speaking from the heart and sharing their experience. It is not a prescriptive manual, nor is it intended to be. It is, however, a valuable resource that sheds more light on some of the aspects of smallholder agriculture that are normally overlooked or taken for granted.

This report puts smallholder farmers at the center of the dialog about agriculture in Africa. Too often, the conversation about farming is conceptual and macroeconomic in scale. We go beyond the numbers and speak to the reality in descriptive terms. We talk about the farmer as a person, engaging in agriculture, faced daily with both opportunities and challenges.


  • The 2012 United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Report states that Africa is 41 percent “off” the first MDG poverty target versus 25 percent in South Asia and 6.1 percent in Latin America.
  • It is a paradox that Africa’s agriculture, which is the biggest employer of active labor, cannot provide enough food for its people.
  • The current reality is that food production continues to lag behind fast population growth, which is expected to double by 2050. Farm productivity is still low. An aging population dominates African smallholder agriculture, though Africa has the youngest population in the world.
  • Heifer believes in order for smallholder farmers to attain food security, better nutrition, income and economic self-sufficiency, they need more than individual, small-scale production. They have to be in an effective community group that enables them to aggregate their production, negotiate better prices and advocate for better policies.
  • Through gifts of livestock and seed, Heifer aims to help communities identify their values and develop their vision. Communities are empowered to achieve their goals and then pass their skills, knowledge and resources on to other communities.

The State of the African Farmer is available for free download. (PDF)

Social Media:
You can help share this important book on social media:

Include Heifer International in your Social Media posts:
       Twitter: @Heifer
       Instagram: @HeiferInternational
       Facebook: Heifer International

Here are some samples you can use:


See how @Heifer aims to tell a larger story about African farmers in The State of the African Farmer report: 

Africa, with 33M small farms, represents 80% of all farms in the region. See how Heifer is helping make those sustainable: 

Take a deeper look into why we need to invest in smallholder farmers in Africa with @Heifer’s State of the African Farmer report:


Heifer International wants to tell a larger story about African farmers. We have created the State of the African Farmer report to dive deeper into why we believe we need to invest in smallholder famers.

You may want to tag a specific contributor or contributing organization: 
Pierre Ferrari @HeiferCEO 

Christian Aid & Catholic Agency for Overseas Development
Egerton University, Kenya
Grameen Foundation
International Development Research Centre (IDRC)
International Food Policy Research Institute
Institute for Endogenous Development
Lutheran World Relief
Michigan State University
Winrock International 
Secretary Hillary Clinton, World Ark article
John Kufor, former President of Ghana
Ephraim Wadonda Chirwa, Professor of Economics and Managing Consultant at Wadonda Consult Limited, Malawi
Jocelyn Edwards, journalist