Aerial view of a transition forest area in Bokito, Cameroon (Credit: Mokhamad Edliadi/CIFOR/Creative Commons via Flickr BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Aerial view of a transition forest area 

Sentinel: Social and Environmental Trade-Offs in African Agriculture

Increasing agricultural production to meet rapidly growing demand for food – predicted to rise in sub-Saharan Africa by 150% by 2050 – while safeguarding vital ecosystem services and promoting social equality, lies at the heart of sustainable development. 

Sentinel is an interdisciplinary research project led by IIED, supported by the Global Challenges Research Fund of the UK Research Councils. It is seeking to address the challenge of achieving ‘zero hunger’ in sub-Saharan Africa, while at the same time reducing inequalities and conserving ecosystems.

Partnership between UK and African research organisations enhances their capacity to investigate these challenges through a participatory process that combines state-of-the-art research with effective engagement with research users.

Over four years Sentinel aims to understand the challenges, trade-offs and synergies inherent in working towards these development goals in three African countries – Ethiopia, Ghana and Zambia.

This knowledge will help governments, policy makers and the private sector to make better-informed decisions about land use, agricultural practices and investments so that food security can be improved while limiting the loss of biodiversity and protecting social equality.

Find out more about the project and sign up to the quarterly newsletter.

We need your input


With the human population of sub-Saharan Africa expected to double, and food demand to triple over the next 50 years, decisions made today can have profound effects on the future. And we must ensure governments, policy makers and private sector have access to the most up-to-date and relevant knowledge to aid them in the decision-making process. 

The Sentinel project team in partnership with International Water Management Institute (IWMI) are leading a "Horizon scanning" activity to identify the 100 most critical research questions that would have the greatest positive impact on addressing these challenges and aid in the decision-making process.

Horizon scanning involves asking experts and stakeholders to highlight important questions that need to be answered in order to solve a given problem. The aim of this horizon scanning activity is: “Achieving food and nutrition security, reducing inequality, and preserving terrestrial ecosystems: 100 critical research questions for decision makers in sub-Saharan Africa.”

We want to hear your views. We are recruiting participants and organisations that are involved and/or work in sub-Saharan Africa to contribute their questions. You do not need to have in-depth knowledge to participate, and we are keen to hear from anyone involved in the region, especially if you are actively engaged with the agricultural sector. 

Find out more and send your questions now. The deadline for submissions is 31 July 2019. 
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