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About African Farmer

African Farmer is a free, open source game that simulates the complex decisions and uncertainties faced by small-scale farmers living in Sub-Saharan Africa. Your challenge is to manage a farming household in a small village. You need to make decisions on what crops to grow, when to plant them and respond to crop pests and changeable weather. You must manage labour and provide your family with a nutritious diet or they may become ill and be unable to work.

Who developed the game?

The African Farmer Game develops ideas from the educational board games Green Revolution and Africulture. Green Revolution, developed in the 1970s by Graham Chapman and Liz Dowler simulated the experience of rice growers in Bihar. Exaction, which extended Green Revolution to include international trade, was developed in the 1980s by Graham Chapman and Isabelle Tsakok. Africulture, which explored the dynamics of gender in agricultural communities, was developed in the 1990s by Graham Chapman, Janice Jiggins and Henk de Zeeuw.

Dr John Thompson (Future Agricultures/Institute of Development Studies) was the Project Co-ordinator.

A multiplayer version of the game (which is no longer supported) was produced by a team from the University of Sussex and Future Agricultures. Ellie Martin and James Jackson developed the game at the School of Engineering and Informatics, University of Sussex, under the leadership of Prof Judith Good.

A single player version of the game was also created during the project, and this continues to be developed and maintained by James Jackson.

Video: John Thompson explains the background to the game.

Project Sponsors

The project is supported by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development through a grant to the Future Agricultures Consortium, with additional support from the United Kingdom Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) through a grant to the STEPS Centre.