Agriculture is the main economic revenue in sub-Saharan African countries, playing a key role on smallholder livelihoods as household incomes and as food. Food insecurity is known to increase with the inevitable climate changes, which already affect the major farming systems, sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) being particularly susceptible, mostly due to the high dependence of rainfall for crop cycles. As such, to promote food security in a long run, new farming systems have to become more sustainable and productive at the same time. In this chapter, a global overview of major farming systems in sub-Saharan Africa is provided, and current and future production scenarios are discussed. Moreover, some of the major pillars under the sustainable land use intensification are highlighted, and the potential of the undervalued African legumes toward a sustainable crop production is debated. Finally, an outline of key opportunities to diversify cropping systems is explored along with the benefits associated to integration of local and “orphan legumes” that are considered. It is argued that the use of these “orphan legumes” and the implementation of appropriated management approaches will promote a sustainable production of more food from the same land area, relying on mutually beneficial ecological relationships and reducing environmental impacts.
Part of the book: Sustainable Crop Production