Poverty in sub-Saharan Africa is pervasive. Eastern and Southern Africa regions which make up more than 50 percent of this region are among the poorest in the world with a huge population living below the poverty line. These two regions are characterized by low agricultural productivity leading to food insecurity, low incomes and consequent increase in poverty levels. These are attributed to factors such as:
- Environment degradation;
- Reduction in the quality of the natural resource base associated with increasing populations;
- Poor marketing structures;
- Inadequate access to and exchange of information amongst various farming stakeholders;
- Poor physical and institutional infrastructure
The Eastern and Southern Africa regional (ESAf) regional office is a recent amalgamation of two regions: Eastern Africa and Southern Africa. The regional office seeks not only to improve operational efficiency but also streamline the ICRAF's activities in these two regions. The regional office oversees operations in seven countries: Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Uganda (in Eastern Africa) and Malawi and Zambia in southern Africa under the southern Africa Node operating from Malawi. There are limited activities are implemented in Somalia and Burundi.
Under the leadership of Dr Jeremias Mowo, the Regional Coordinator, ESAf seeks to improve livelihoods of smallholder farmers and other users of tree products in its countries of operation and strengthening national programs through collaborative research, education and development. This is through a wide range of tried and tested agroforestry technologies that are being used by thousands of farmers. In addition, it continues to develop methods and tools that can help characterize land use, recommend appropriate interventions, catalyse wide-scale dissemination and assess impact on the environment and livelihoods. The regional office supports capacity building and institutional development in agroforestry research among its partners. Currently, the region works in seven thematic areas:
- Integrated natural resource management
- Policy and institutions
- Gender in Agroforestry
- Climate change
- Water management
- Dry-lands Agroforestry
To gain a better understanding on what our long-term strategy of promoting agroforestry in the eastern and southern Africa region you can read our strategic plan.