Development actors in West Africa have been promoting agroecological farming as a solution to combat climate change and to create more sovereign food systems that enhance the autonomy of local smallholders. However, there is a lack of empirical evidence regarding the actual implementation of such programs and their potential to empower smallholders, especially in the West African region. Drawing on co-produced knowledge from anthropological fieldwork in Western Senegal, the case study of an alternative food network explores the interlinkages between the promotion of agroecology, anti-migration policies, and unequal power and market relations. Informed by decolonial political ecologies, the analysis reveals different layers of coloniality which complicate embodied effects on horticultural smallholders. The authors conclude that instead of fostering the emancipation of smallholders, development actors promote a labor-intensive and unprofitable way of farming that exploits local resources for the sake of green agendas and white markets. This article highlights the need for a critical reflection on the potential limitations of agroecology and calls for a more nuanced approach that considers the complex realities of smallholders in West Africa.