Farmer Esther Ruto and friend picking coffee from her farm. © World Agroforestry Centre/Joseph Gachoka

How agroecology is transforming food systems globally

On a farm, as in a forest, biodiversity means resilience.

This is particularly true for farmers across the tropics who are on the front line of the interconnected climate, food and land degradation crises. And while agroecological approaches such as intercropping, mulching, agroforestry and integrated crop–livestock systems can boost both productivity and resilience, sceptics challenge whether it can be taken to scale.

The Transformative Partnership Platform (TPP) on Agroecology is responding to a clear demand for evidence on how well agroecological approaches perform in terms of food security, income and return on labour. Formed in 2020 in response to the 2019 Committee on World Food Security High Level Panel of Experts report, and launched in 2021, the TPP addresses knowledge and implementation gaps constraining agroecological transitions.

Transitions vary according to context. In India, the focus is on reducing dependence on environmentally disruptive and often toxic agrochemicals that have driven many farmers into debt. The TPP has contributed to research that has shown how agroecological transitions can be made in Andhra Pradesh without reducing crop yield.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, where many farmers use few inputs, the focus is on agroecological intensification – how to increase productivity equitably, without damaging the environment, including the soil and pollinators on which agricultural production depends.

Hosted on GLFx, the TPP’s thriving, inclusive and diverse community of practice continues to grow and evolve.

CIFOR-ICRAF Chief Scientist Fergus Sinclair credits the rise of agroecology on the global agenda in part to the TPP. “Going into the UN Food Systems Summit, agroecology was not even on the agenda. Yet one of the summit’s most significant outcomes was the emergence of a coalition to transform food systems through agroecology,” he said.

Supported by France, SDC (Switzerland), EU-INTPA (European Union), BMZ (Germany), One CGIAR

“This TPP was at the forefront of phenomenal progress in getting agroecological approaches mainstreamed during 2021.”

Fergus Sinclair

Chief Scientist, CIFOR-ICRAF

Harnessing the power of forests, trees and agroforestry


In 2021, as the Covid-19 pandemic started to turn a corner and new hope sprang from the launch of global initiatives on restoration and land use, CIFOR-ICRAF completed a successful three-year merger process, finishing the year with a project pipeline of USD 430 million and fully harmonized management, research and regional processes.

This report highlights some of our solutions to five global challenges: deforestation and biodiversity loss, climate change, dysfunctional food systems, unsustainable supply and value chains, and inequality. Achievements include informing national policies in Peru and Viet Nam, applying new technologies in the Congo Basin and India, and co-creating solutions with partners and communities in Indonesia and Cameroon – all while integrating considerations of the rights of women, Indigenous Peoples and local communities.

The Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) has reached over one billion people. The CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) wrapped up 10 years of impact. And Resilient Landscapes is fast becoming a nexus between science, business and finance, with projects starting in Papua New Guinea, Serbia and Brazil.

With the momentum of a combined 70 years’ experience, CIFOR-ICRAF is forging ahead with its valued partners, finding new ways to harness the transformative power of forests, trees and agroforestry for a more resilient future.