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Food vs forests in sub-Saharan Africa: a challenge for the SDGs

Xiaoting Hou Jones, Phil Franks

IIED Briefing, 4 pages

Domestic food supply in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) will need to triple in the next 35 years. But SSA countries have also committed to reducing or halting deforestation. The tripling of food supply cannot be achieved solely through imports, waste reduction and yield increases — in certain circumstances, yield increases could even drive deforestation. Agriculture will therefore continue to expand in SSA, at the likely expense of forests, and trade-offs between the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of ending hunger and conserving forests need to be recognised. Efforts to manage these trade-offs will require an understanding of the unique characteristics of SSA and their implications for food and forest policies.

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With the support of country partners, IIED is conducting research to better understand existing and future competition and trade-offs between food production and natural forests, and the implications for land use policies in sub-Saharan Africa.

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Food demand and forests in sub-Saharan Africa

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