The climate crisis is impacting communities right now in West and Central Africa. But there are also incredible solutions. We talked with organizations working across sectors and breaking down silos to push for real progress.

“Climate change is real, and for many communities, it’s a matter of even existing,” Sidonie Kouam of the Global Green Growth Institute tells us. GGGI is one of CORAF’s many partners working to share knowledge, disseminate research, and ensure that climate-smart technologies are accessible and adaptable to local communities throughout the region.

It’s also obvious that farmers must be included in any conversation about food systems change. Farmers know that critical changes don’t always mean re-inventing the wheel.

“Farmers are knowledge producers, not only doctors have knowledge,” says Ousmane Ndiaye of ASPRODEB, an association of farmers and fishers across West and Central Africa. “It is important to give value to farmers and what they know.”

We visited the city of Thiès, near the western coast of Senegal, and talked to so many inspiring young, women researchers. We loved hearing from Khady Nani Dramé, Research Officer at ISRA/CERAAS, about how traditional dryland crops can help build resilience to the climate crisis. Crop adaptation research at CERAAS is helping farmers become more drought-resilient—while also confronting economic, social, and environmental constraints limiting dryland food systems in the region. In their small seed bank, it was great to see their their cowpea, millet, and sorghum varieties.

We also appreciated watching folks buy baguettes made with wheat along with other traditional foods like millet, sorghum, moringa, and sweet potato. It was very cool to see how normalized these ingredients are in baguettes—and how tasty!

And we were absolutely thrilled to see our good friend, CORAF Executive Director Abdou Tenkouano, and hear his thoughts about how West and Central African agriculture is becoming more regionalized.

“You cannot work on solutions away from where the problems are,” Tenkouano tells us at a Food Tank member-exclusive conversation yesterday. “We can make things at the community level and involve the community from the start so that they can own the process.”

Read the full article about farmers and climate crisis at Food Tank.