1.1 WHAT IS THE CONTENT IN THIS PUBLICATION INTENDED FOR?
The content in this publication is intended to provide information and tips to agricultural
extension and advisory services (AEAS) providers who work directly with farmers in the
sorghum-based dryland farming systems of Burkina Faso and Tanzania. The content may also
be used in other African countries with similar conditions and farming systems. If this is done,
there may be a need to make some context-specific modifications.
1.2 WHAT ARE THE COMMON PILLARS?
This publication is built on two common pillars. First is that, in general, agricultural extension
agents need to package the advice they give to farmers in the context of food system
resilience and the practice of climate-smart agriculture (CSA) based on the crops that they
grow. Second is that the CSA services have to rely on robust climate services.
According to the World Bank1 CSA aims to simultaneously achieve three outcomes:
- Increased productivity: Produce more and better food to improve nutrition security
and boost incomes, especially for the poor who live in rural areas and mainly rely on
agriculture for their livelihoods;
- Enhanced resilience: Reduce vulnerability to drought, pests, diseases and other
climate-related risks and shocks; and improve capacity to adapt and grow in the face
of longer-term stresses like shortened seasons and erratic weather patterns;
- Reduced emissions: Pursue lower emissions for each calorie or kilo of food produced,
avoid deforestation from agriculture and identify ways to absorb carbon out of the
The focus on food system resilience, emphasises the aspect of food (not just production and
productivity) in advising farmers. The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of the United
Nations gives a comprehensive description and discussion of agrifood system resilience2
simply for the context of agricultural extension agents supporting rural African farmers,
resilience of agrifood systems encompasses primary agricultural production of food and nonfood products (from crops, livestock, fisheries, forestry and aquaculture), the food supply
chain from producer to consumer and the final consumer of food. A truly resilient agrifood
system must have a robust capacity to prevent, anticipate, absorb, adapt and transform in
the face of any disruption, with the functional goal of ensuring food security and nutrition for
all and decent livelihoods and incomes for agrifood systems’ actors. Such resilience addresses
all dimensions of food security but focuses specifically on the stability of access and
sustainability, which ensure food security in both the short and the long term.
FAO (2021): The state of food and agriculture 2021 – Making agrifood systems more resilient to shocks and