We need to accept that their knowledge has been important in producing food in the past till today, and this is evergreen knowledge. However, we need to improve on this local knowledge by accepting new skills which will help us to increase productivity and efficiency as a result of population explosion. These are to mention a few because time wouldn't permit. Therefore, the roles of smallholder farmers in Africa are numerous and cannot be overemphasized.

It is also important to note that as they work to produce food for us, they are faced with several challenges that have impeded their growth. One of these key challenges is poor fertility. Sadly, out of 874 million hectares of farmland in Africa, about 83 percent have serious soil fertility issues or other limitations, and it will require costly improvements and amendments to achieve high and sustained productivity. Nutrient depletion is common amongst these smallholder farmers and it represents a significant loss of natural capital valued at an estimated US$1 to 3 billion per year (according to FAO). There is a major concern as it was established that if most of the nearly 70 million smallholder families in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) fail within the next decade to adopt sustainable integrated soil fertility, land and water management practices on their farms, it will seriously jeopardize our long-term food security, productivity and incomes while environmental degradation will accelerate. Therefore, Africa needs to address low farm productivity through integrated approaches such as combining increased use of organic matter, mineral fertilizers, hybrid seeds, irrigation or mechanization (including reduced tillage systems) together rather than each in isolation. Aside from this, we need to provide evidence-based support to smallholder farmers in Africa rather than the perceived top-bottom approach solutions that are not sustainable in the long run. In addition, we need to scale up productive cross-sector social safety nets, reduce gender gaps and encourage more youths into the agriculture sector through productivity-based incentives, development of R&D to develop simple and modern technology to improve productivity and timely access to agricultural extension services, especially promoting private extension services.

In conclusion, we need to approach the development of the agricultural sector from the value chain approach (which is holistic), rather than a single-side approach, and ensure that agriculture is viewed beyond farming rather than a business where sustainability is key. Farmers need to be empowered to solve their problems by themselves, understanding the root causes and proffering solutions that are acceptable and adaptable to various scenarios. Therefore, we all need to be involved so as to replace the saying "no farmer, no nation," with a better one which states "knowledgeable farmers, a prosperous nation".