The Panel's latest report 'Sustainable Intensification: A New Paradigm for African Agriculture' was published in April 2013 and provides a new framework for understanding sustainable intensification and offers practical approaches to achieving it.
Today, the world is searching for solutions to a series of global challenges unprecedented in their scale and complexity: food insecurity, malnutrition, climate change, rural poverty, environmental protection all among them.
Sub-Saharan Africa is particularly vulnerable, with both supply and demand challenges putting additional pressure on an already fragile food production system.
Over recent years, the term “Sustainable Intensification” – producing more outputs with more efficient use of all inputs on a durable basis, while reducing environmental damage and building resilience, natural capital and the flow of environmental services – has come to take on a highly charged and politicised meaning, becoming synonymous with big, industrial agriculture. As we strive to feed a population expected to reach nine billion by 2050 sustainably, the risk is that we may lose sight of the term’s scientific value and its potential relevance to all types of agricultural systems, including for smallholder farmers in Africa.
The report provides innovative thinking and examples into the way in which the techniques of Sustainable Intensification are being used by smallholder farmers in Africa to address the continent’s food and nutrition crisis.
It begins by examining the process and elements of Intensification itself, before considering how we then ensure that the Intensification is Sustainable, and concludes with practical solutions in action today across the African continent, that underline the positive impacts the framework can produce if scaled up more effectively.