Sustainably closing yield gaps of smallholder farmers in Africa


The gap between attainable yields of different crops and the yields smallholder farmers actually achieve can be as high as 90%. Reasons for these gaps pertain to general technological challenges, the translation of research into both adapted technologies and farmers’ local knowledge, policies and business environments that are not conducive to intensification and climate change. To enhance food security, it is essential to understand the relative importance of these reasons. How can cutting-edge research, context-sensitive technology development, empowering farmers to fine-tune their systems and innovative training contribute to close yield gaps in a sustainable way?


To analyze in selected cases the reasons for yield gaps and, together with farmers, develop innovations to close these gaps in a sustainable manner.

Expected Benefit

In partner country: Reasons for yield gaps are understood and quantified. An analytical framework is developed and tested. Strategies for closing yield gaps are identified and selected options for sustainable intensification are tested. Dissemination of knowledge and lessons learnt in other countries contribute to close yield gaps and thereby enhance food security.

In Switzerland: Reducing the yield gap is crucial to improve the food security in sub-Saharan Africa. Food insecurity is well-known to be a major cause of migration.

Contact Information

Urs Scheidegger,, phone: +41 31 910 21 71

School of Agriculture, Forest and Food Sciences, HAFL - Bern University of Applied Sciences:

Closing yield gaps
Closing yield gaps

Partner countries: 4–6 case countries, e.g. Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Ethiopia, Great Lakes, Mozambique, Tanzania

Research Partners: IITA, ICRISAT, CIAT, national and regional research institutes, universities

Cost: CHF 4 Mio

Duration: 6 years