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Agriculture at a Crossroads: The Global Report

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... In 2008 the authors of the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) recognized the need to place agriculture in a wider social, economic and ecological context, and suggested "an interdisciplinary, holistic and systems based approach to knowledge production and sharing" (McIntyre et al. 2009). During the following years, scientists, especially in the field of agroecology, became increasingly aware that most of the challenges surrounding sustainable agricultural productivity can be addressed through localized food systems and small-scale agriculture ( de Schutter 2014). ...
... Assuring world food security in a sustainable way is a challenge that cannot be met without increasing productivity and sustainability of smallholding farms in developing countries (McIntyre et al. 2009, Hounkonou et al. 2012. After the linear model of technology transfer proved ineffective in meeting this challenge, it is now recognized that an interdisciplinary, holistic and systems-based approach to innovation is needed (McIntyre et al. 2009). ...
... Assuring world food security in a sustainable way is a challenge that cannot be met without increasing productivity and sustainability of smallholding farms in developing countries (McIntyre et al. 2009, Hounkonou et al. 2012. After the linear model of technology transfer proved ineffective in meeting this challenge, it is now recognized that an interdisciplinary, holistic and systems-based approach to innovation is needed (McIntyre et al. 2009). Such is the now widely adopted Agricultural Innovation Systems (AIS) approach, that sees innovation as emerging from interaction between a set of agents who contribute to the production, exchange and utilization of knowledge (Hall et al. 2003, Clark 2002, Sumberg 2005, World Bank 2006, Sanginga et al.2009, Spielman et al.2010, Adekunle et al.2012, Klerkx et al.2013). ...
Thesis
African farmers are under pressure to innovate. In the field of agricultural innovation studies,the growing dissatisfaction with the linear model of innovation transfer in which the innovationis conceived by researchers, transferred by extension agents and then adopted by farmers, pushed the researchers to look for alternatives. The recognition of actors not belonging to the scientific world as sources of innovation, the growing focus on the role of farmers and their knowledge in the innovation process and the recognition of different dimensions of innovation (beyond just new technology) influenced the way in which the academics now study innovation. In the innovation systems approach, innovation defined as a social or economical activity useful for the agricultural development, emerges in a complex system of heterogeneous actors as a result of the social learning that takes place during their interactions. This change of approach entails change in the position of farmers who are now, equally to other actors, recognized assources of innovation. But what is really the position of farmers in the most common operationalization of the AIS approach, innovation platforms? We are focusing our interest on farmers for two reasons: they are recognized as key actors for food security and they are the ultimate users of agricultural innovation, those who put it in practice. Thus the analysis of the effects of different types of interactions, learning processes and power relations on the position of farmers in the innovation process is central for this thesis. On the basis of the analysis that we conducted in the study area – the irrigation scheme El Brahmi in North West Tunisia – we designed a tool to mobilize the innovation capacity of local farmers. The proposed methodology includes elements of companion modeling, and is based on the “self-design” principle. We developed a simulation game that is co-constructed by players –dairy farmers– while they play. They develop, discuss, negotiate and test innovative solutions to reach objectives that they themselves define. While doing it, they mobilize local knowledge and become co-authors of their own learning and of the method to support their innovation process.
... Technological changes are in this case particularly relevant for the environmental domains of global nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) application (ibid.). Furthermore, the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), also known as the World Agriculture Report, sees 'agriculture at a crossroads' and calls for focusing on efficient, small-scale agroecosystems with nutrient cycles that are as closed as practicably possible (McIntyre et al. 2009). Circular economies (CE) and material cycling within the agroecosystem are, therefore, necessary to stay within a safe operating space for food systems and represent agreed prerequisites for long-term global food production, which has been promoted inter alia by Willett et al. (2019), Springmann et al. (2018), the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) (2014), Lal (2006Lal ( , 2009, La Via Campesina (2015), McIntyre et al. (2009) andDe Schutter (2011). ...
... Furthermore, the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), also known as the World Agriculture Report, sees 'agriculture at a crossroads' and calls for focusing on efficient, small-scale agroecosystems with nutrient cycles that are as closed as practicably possible (McIntyre et al. 2009). Circular economies (CE) and material cycling within the agroecosystem are, therefore, necessary to stay within a safe operating space for food systems and represent agreed prerequisites for long-term global food production, which has been promoted inter alia by Willett et al. (2019), Springmann et al. (2018), the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) (2014), Lal (2006Lal ( , 2009, La Via Campesina (2015), McIntyre et al. (2009) andDe Schutter (2011). Whilst smallholder farmers cultivate at least half of the world's food crops (Graeub et al. 2016), many smallholders in sub-Saharan Africa nevertheless lack the resources to sufficiently replenish soil nutrients and soil organic matter (SOM) in soils depleted by agricultural activity Markwei et al. 2008). ...
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The starting point of this work is the intention of two farmers’ initiatives to disseminate locally developed and adapted cooking and sanitation technologies to smallholder households in Karagwe District, in northwest Tanzania. These technologies include improved cooking stoves (ICSs), such as microgasifiers, and a system combining biogas digesters and burners for cooking, as well as urine-diverting dry toilets, and thermal sterilisation/pasteurisation for ecological sanitation (EcoSan). Switching to the new alternatives could lead to a higher availability of domestic residues for soil fertility management. These residues include biogas slurry from anaerobic digestion, powdery biochar from microgasifiers and sanitised human excreta from EcoSan facilities. Such recycling-driven approaches address an existing problem for many smallholders in sub-Saharan Africa, namely, the lack of soil amenders to sufficiently replenish soil nutrients and soil organic matter (SOM) in soils used for agricultural activity. This example from Tanzania systematically examines the nexus of ‘energy-sanitation-agriculture’ in smallholder farming systems. The short-term experiments demonstrated that all soil amenders that were analysed could significantly enhance crop productivity. CaSa-compost – the product of co-composting biochar with sanitised human excreta – quadrupled grain yields. The observed stimulation of crop yield and also plant nutrition is attributed to improved nutrient availability caused by a direct increase of soil pH and of plant-available phosphorus (P) in the soil. The assessment of the lasting soil implications revealed that CaSa-compost and biogas slurry both show the long-term potential to roughly double yields of maize. Corresponding nutrient requirements can be adequately compensated through residue capturing and subsistence production of soil amenders. The potential of CaSa-compost for sustainable soil fertility management is superior to that of standard compost, especially with respect to liming, replenishing soil P and restoring SOM. Biogas slurry, however, yields inferior results in all aspects when compared to compost amendments.
... Despite the potential of the agricultural sector to accelerate growth and reduce food insecurity in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) [1,2], production remains less optimal compared with developed countries [3,4]. Current projections show a 162% rise by 2067 in population, yet agricultural productivity will likely remain low [5,6], worsening food insecurity and poverty [7]. ...
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Despite the huge potential for milk production, interventions to improve productivity in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are barely based on specified farm classifications. This study aimed to develop robust and context-specific farm typologies to guide content of extension farm advice/services in Uganda. From a sample of 482 dairy farmers, we collected data on farmer socio-demographics, farm management practices, ownership of farm tools and facilities, willingness to pay for extension services, milk production, and marketing. Farm typologies were obtained based on principal component and cluster analyses. Thereby, of the three dairy production systems that emerged, small-scale, largely subsistence yet extensive and low productive farms were more prominent (82.6%). Farms that were classified as large-scale, less commercialized yet extensive with modest productive systems were more than the medium-scale commercial farms with intensive and highly productive systems. However, the later were considered to potentially transform dairy farming in Uganda. It was also predicted that the validity of our farm classification may persist until half of the farms have moved between clusters. The study gives new insights on dairy production systems in Uganda, which can be used to organize more targeted research on farmers’ extension needs for facilitating delivery of relevant and effective extension services and designing appropriate extension policies.
... Agriculture remains the primary source of livelihood for most smallholders in rural areas of the Global South (McIntyre et al. 2009), where livelihoods are challenged by the accelerating climate crisis, social dynamics, and degrading natural resources (Alvaredo et al. 2018;Cherlet et al. 2018;IPCC 2019). To address the resulting food security challenges, farmers have continuously adapted their practices (e.g., Reij et al. 2009). ...
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Cattle production in southwestern Burkina Faso is under pressure because of resource scarcity, changing climate, and cattle diseases. Well-adapted local breeds, such as Lobi taurine cattle, are increasingly replaced by more productive exotic breeds. Community-based breeding programs (CBBPs) could be a viable option for preserving the breed and improving its productivity. Presuming that CBBPs would succeed only if they align with producers’ beliefs and values, we relied on a combination of conceptual frameworks (theory of basic values, rural livelihood transitions) to explore the values and beliefs of cattle producers. Security was the respondents’ dominant value in their aim to mitigate threats to livelihood, and it was closely linked to achievement in terms of harvest and animal quantity. Livestock-oriented respondents particularly valued conformity with accepted social roles, while achievement and power were more pronounced among crop-oriented respondents. We conclude that CBBPs, to be successful, will need to reduce threats to participants’ livelihood and make benefits of participation immediately visible. We consider the emergence of trusted leadership from the community to be pivotal for creating momentum for novel arrangements in cattle keeping and feeding.
... Technological changes are in this case particularly relevant for the environmental domains of global nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) application (ibid.). Furthermore, the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), also known as the World Agriculture Report, sees 'agriculture at a crossroads' and calls for focusing on efficient, small-scale agroecosystems with nutrient cycles that are as closed as practicably possible (McIntyre et al. 2009). Circular economies (CE) and material cycling within the agroecosystem are, therefore, necessary to stay within a safe operating space for food systems and represent agreed prerequisites for long-term global food production, which has been promoted inter alia by Willett et al. ...
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Organic waste composting is another excellent example to demonstrate the power and the benefits of nexus thinking. Even though organic waste composting itself is not a new topic, those who want to start a new project or align an ongoing project with nexus thinking, find it difficult to gather the necessary information. With nine case studies from four continents, this book aims to fill above gap in literature. While current literature on composting is often found to be limited to either soil/agriculture sector or waste management sector, this book presents a combined point of view. This open access book starts with an introductory chapter that describes the need to bring the waste management aspects and soil nutrient management aspects of compost production into one integrated theme. The relevance of nexus thinking and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are also presented in this introduction. The first three chapters after the introduction covers composting from the solid waste management and its policy aspects, taking examples from three developing countries. The next three examples are mostly about the benefits composting can provide to the soil and agriculture. These examples are also from three developing countries, but with a mixture of urban as well as rural settings. Last three chapters present more insight into the latest developments taking examples from Europe, as well as new methods adapted from the traditional styles from Africa.
... Technological changes are in this case particularly relevant for the environmental domains of global nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) application (ibid.). Furthermore, the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), also known as the World Agriculture Report, sees 'agriculture at a crossroads' and calls for focusing on efficient, small-scale agroecosystems with nutrient cycles that are as closed as practicably possible (McIntyre et al. 2009). Circular economies (CE) and material cycling within the agroecosystem are, therefore, necessary to stay within a safe operating space for food systems and represent agreed prerequisites for long-term global food production, which has been promoted inter alia by Willett et al. ...
Book
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Preface: Composting is not a new topic; there is already plenty of literature in the public domain. However, despite how convincing it is as a concept, the practical implementation of composting has not realized its full potential. Massive amounts of food waste and other organic materials that end up in landfills (and waste dumps) become a source of greenhouse gas emissions, rather than a source of nutrients needed for soil. Although it looks fitting in the big picture, the demand and supply theory does not seem to be working for the composting industry yet. The reasons behind this discrepancy are more social-related and policy-related than of engineering or the sciences. The above reasons moved us to publish this book as we believe that nexus thinking can help us act differently. With this book, we want to present a cross-sectoral perspective of compost. But the process was not easy. We hit the same “silo-thinking” roadblock when we started looking for eligible sample case studies from around the world: most of the initial cases we considered were written from one angle, either from the soil/agriculture or waste perspective. Our explanations on nexus thinking and the close interactions we developed with potential authors did not go in vain: the majority understood it right away. We must honestly admit that a few refused to understand it. We, as editors, learned a lot about what our general audience might not understand easily, and that led us to think about a special introductory chapter (Chap. 1), where we explain the relevance of nexus thinking to compost and introduce what each subsequent chapter has to offer in this respect. Promoting the integrated management of water, soil, and waste through nexus thinking is the main mandate of the United Nations University Institute for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources (UNU-FLORES). To illustrate the benefits of such a higher-level integration of resource management, it is essential for us to find examples that are simple in nature but powerful in the delivery of the key message. The case studies presented in this book will help us in this regard, as organic waste composting is one of the best examples that can demonstrate the power and benefits of nexus thinking. From the waste management point of view, it is a great example of recycling of nutrients; from the soil/agriculture point of view, it is a great way of enriching the quality of soil. Although it might not offer any direct impact for water management, the ability of compost to increase water retention capacity can also lead to savings on water needed for irrigation. Composting is not an error-free technology: composting should not be misinterpreted as a blank check. There is an inherent health risk associated with composting, especially when the raw material is not limited to kitchen or agricultural waste anymore, as it used to be a century ago. Due to the changes of anthropogenic activities and human lifestyles, there is a chance that the compost we produce nowadays may trigger other environmental issues, which no one could have foreseen years ago. Therefore, while promoting organic waste composting as a sustainable waste and soil management practice, with this book, we would also like to alert all stakeholders to take appropriate measures to curtail any possible adverse impacts it can cause. We wish to thank all chapter authors and reviewers for joining us in this effort. Their hard work and willingness to share their knowledge with the rest of the world to enhance nexus thinking are greatly appreciated. Special thanks to our own colleagues at UNU-FLORES – Atiqah Fairuz Salleh and Isabella Georgiou – for their contributions with copyediting and editorial assistance. Hiroshan Hettiarachchi Serena Caucci Kai Schwärzel Dresden, Germany Note: This is an open access book and available at https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-030-36283-6
... Ecological functions therefore affect the overall ability of an agroecosystem to provide nutritional functions to people-through the production of a diverse selection of nutritious foods. Extending beyond the agroecosystem level, recent high-profile reports have highlighted transitioning to agroecological management as an innovative approach to enhance food security and nutrition globally [McIntyre et al., 2009; The High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE) on Food Security Nutrition, 2019]. ...
Article
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Smallholder agriculture is the foundation of global food systems, yet smallholders face severe socio-economic and environmental challenges that can destabilize livelihoods and threaten their resilience. Given that smallholder farmers rely on household production to meet their nutritional needs, management of soil fertility, biodiversity, and other ecological characteristics of agroecosystems directly affects smallholders' capacity to produce sufficient crop nutrients for their diets. However, we lack explicit frameworks linking ecological and nutritional functions of agroecosystems, as well as research exploring farmers' adaptive capacity and agency in mediating these functions, and ultimately, agroecosystem resilience. To address these gaps, we developed an indicator framework to evaluate the complementary roles of ecological and nutritional functions of agroecosystems for smallholder resilience. Paired ecological and nutritional indicators were aggregated into an index representing four agroecosystem functions: (1) Productivity, (2) Diversity, (3) Quality, and (4) Functional Diversity. We then applied this framework and index to a case study of Q'eqchi' Maya smallholders in eastern Guatemala, using farm management and crop quality data from 60 households to determine the status of agroecosystem functions and assess coping and adaptive capacities in response to shocks. More than three-quarters of farms in the sample relied solely on household production of staples to meet their nutritional demands. Across farms, ecological and nutritional indicators were significantly related (Kendall's tau = 0.58, z = 5.7, p < 0.0001), and we found both synergistic (Quality, Functional Diversity) and tradeoff (Productivity) relationships between indicator pairs. We found that farmers using ecological adaptation strategies such as cover cropping and agroforestry had significantly higher levels of agroecosystem functioning and resilience than farmers who were coping with shocks by working off-farm or renting land from plantations. Our findings demonstrate the importance of linking ecological and nutritional functions of agroecosystems through diversified management practices to leverage their synergies. Because smallholder agroecosystems underlie a third of the food system, understanding and promoting their resilience is critical for the social, ecological, and nutritional well-being of global populations.
Article
The objective of the study was to carry out, with the aid of Scopus®️, a scientometric analysis of Loop Mediated Isothermal Amplification Assay (LAMP) applied to farm animals. The research has considered articles from January 2000 to December 2019 and only open or closed access articles published in English. The bibliometric matrices were run through RStudio, applying Biblioshiny as a web interface to Bibliometrix resources for R environment. Later, several bibliometric data were collected with the aid of Bibliometrix, most of which were converted into graphs using Microsoft Excel®️. The scientometric analysis base of the current study was composed by 438 articles from 504 researched in the Scopus®️. Of the 438 articles analyzed, it stands out as results: 1) the years of 2015 (11,4%) and 2019 (11,4%) had equally the highest number of publications in the area; 2) Journal of Virological Methods (12,5%) ranked first in the ranking of journals according to total articles published; 3) China (49,8%), Japan (12,7%) and India (7,1%) have been countries of more published articles; 4) most articles applied the assay to detect microorganisms affecting the farm animals; and, 5) together, the animal groups fish, bovine, poultry, and swine corresponded to 2/3 (71,1%) of the animals used in scientific research using the LAMP method. With all these results, it is concluded that the scientometric analysis showed an overview of the information in the articles about LAMP applied to farm animals.
Conference Paper
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Tomando como base el proceso por el cual el concepto de sostenibilidad ha sido cooptado y, en cierta medida tergiversado, este trabajo propone adoptar un enfoque intercultural como alternativa viable para evitar una situación semejante con la agroecología.
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Water harvesting (WH) techniques have experienced a renaissance within a grassroots sustainability concept and movement called ‘permaculture’. Over the past decade, there has been a growing interest in the uptake of permaculture inspired solutions designed to restore the water cycle at a landscape level and to facilitate the delivery of ecosystem services as part of a holistic farming approach. In this study, we assessed four reservoirs built on a fruit farm in southern Spain in terms of usefulness. A simple hydrological model was developed utilising on-site data and two free calibration parameters, infiltration and evapotranspiration. The model matches the observations on the ground well, but indicates limited potential of WH within the boundaries of this particular farm. As the decade preceding the reservoir’s inception received more rain (2000–2010), this may have led to a misjudgement for on-farm water harvesting potential in the planning phase. We conclude that the design of WH reservoirs or water landscapes as a contribution to reversing desertification processes and mitigating climate change would benefit from long-term studies on the ground. Moreover, modelling-based scenario analyses can help better understand the dynamics and extent of its potential in establishing an effective and economically viable land restoration process for the region, taking into account climate change projections of increasing desertification in the Mediterranean basin, thereby contributing to the water-soil-food nexus, addressing sustainable development goals (SDGs) related to food (2), water (6), responsible consumption and production (12), climate action (13) and life on land (15).
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