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Save and grow: a policymaker's guide to the sustainable intensification of smallholder crop production

Posted on Mon, 27 Jun 2011, 08:10

Save and Grow

In order to meet food production demand over the next 40 years, farmers in the developing world must double food production, a challenge made even more daunting by the combined effects of climate change and growing competition for land, water and energy. Sustainable crop production intensification (SCPI) represents a major shift from the homogeneous model of crop production to knowledge-intensive, often location-specific, farming systems.

Its application will require significant support to farmers in testing new practices and adapting technologies. Governments will need to strengthen national programmes for plant genetic resources conservation, plant breeding, and seed distribution in order to deploy improved crop varieties that are resilient to climate change and use nutrients, water and external inputs more efficiently. Fundamental changes are also required in agricultural development strategies. Policymakers must provide incentives for adoption of SCPI, such as rewarding good management of agro-ecosystems.

The SCPI concepts includes the protection of plant resources from pests i.e. the work of the IPPC. Therefore it is important that IPPC activities are undertaken, and included in the relevant national policies, in the context of the good managment of agro-ecosystems. This is going to mean new ways of working together to improve food production efficiency.

An FAO book on SCPI provides a toolkit of adaptable farming systems, technologies and practices, and explores the policies and the institutional arrangements that will support the large-scale implementation of SCPI. More information, including how to order the book, can be found on the FAO website.

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