Agricultural activities in the Central African region have been predominantly linked to village agriculture, which mainly supplies local markets and nearby urban centers. This agricultural production often involves inefficient land practices as farmers lack access to capital and adequate risk-management mechanisms to sustainably increase yields.
To date, industrial agriculture has had limited impact on forest cover with the exception of oil palm and rubber plantations set up near large transportation axes. Due to growing local, regional and international demand and the increasing role of agro-business, commercial agriculture has and will have an increasing impact on forests in all CAFI countries.
the first objective of the Letter of Intent is to develop and implement, in a participatory and transparent manner, an agricultural policy that contributes to rural development and national food security while limiting the current and future impact on forests.
And already, CAFI-funded provincial integrated programmes seek, over the next 5 years, to:
In line with the country's vision and strategic development plans, the National Investment Plan (NIP) will help reduce emissions from the land use sector by 50% by 2025, with agricultural expansion avoiding as much as possible High Carbon Stocks (HCS) and High Conservation Value (HCV) forests. The NIP also seeks to reduce the share of imported agricultural products by increasing efficient subsistence agriculture.
The Letter of Intent signed between CAFI and Gabon requires, among other milestones, that
The CAFI-funded programme, implemented by the French Development Agency (AFD), is finalizing a national land use plan that will precisely map the agricultural potential of lands for strategic crops such as hevea, coco and sugar cane, complementing existing studies for oil palm. This mapping will highlight what are the areas best for each commercial crop. In addition, the national observation system, developed under the same programme, will monitor agricultural activities.
development vision is to encourage economic diversification, first and foremost in the agricultural sector. To signal its commitment to ensure that this does not happen at the expense of forests, the Government has for example signed the Marrakesch Declaration and developed a related action plan.
In order to preserve forest ecosystems, the National Investment Plan thus focuses on making savannahs more attractive for subsistence agriculture, and on establishing any new industrial agricultural concession in savannahs. In addition, measures will support specific production in forest areas, such as shade-grown- cocoa, and intensifying agroforestry production of manioc and bananas.
To do so, an agricultural policy and regulations will be adopted.
In Equatorial Guinea, a new study- completed with CAFI's preparatory grant and FAO support - has shown that despite a large potential, national agricultural production does not suffice to cover the population needs. As a result, the country imports over 80% of its food - and so at an increased cost for consumers. The study also shows that agriculture contributed to 4% of deforestation during the period 2004-2014 (making it the 2nd driver, but not taking roads into account), and represented 41% of forest degradation (with 40% due to subsistence agriculture and only 1% to intensive commercial agriculture).