Knowledge for better food systems

Agro-Ecological Intensification of Agricultural Systems in the African Highlands

Abstract

There is an urgent need to increase agricultural productivity in sub-Saharan Africa in a sustainable and economically-viable manner. Transforming risk-averse smallholders into business-oriented producers that invest in producing surplus food for sale provides a formidable challenge, both from a technological and socio-political perspective.

Abstract

There is an urgent need to increase agricultural productivity in sub-Saharan Africa in a sustainable and economically-viable manner. Transforming risk-averse smallholders into business-oriented producers that invest in producing surplus food for sale provides a formidable challenge, both from a technological and socio-political perspective. This book addresses the issue of agricultural intensification in the humid highland areas of Africa – regions with relatively good agricultural potential, but where scarce land resources are increasingly under pressure from the growing population and from climate change. In addition to introductory and synthesis chapters, the book focuses on four themes: system components required for agricultural intensification; the integration of components at the system level; drivers for adoption of technologies towards intensification; and the dissemination of complex knowledge. It provides case studies of improved crop and soil management for staple crops such as cassava and bananas, as well as examples of how the livelihoods of rural people can be improved. The book provides a valuable resource for researchers, development actors, students and policy makers in agricultural systems and economics and in international development. It highlights and addresses key challenges and opportunities that exist for sustainable agricultural intensification in the humid highlands of sub-Saharan Africa.

Citation

Vanlauwe, B., van Asten, P. and Blomme, G., 2013, Agro-Ecological Intensification of Agricultural Systems in the African Highlands. Routledge

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Africa

The 54 countries in Africa – from the dry northern African nations, through those in deserts and rainforests, all the way to the temperate parts of South Africa – are hugely varied in their ethnic, cultural, climatic, geographic, and economic aspects. The continent’s population of over a billion inhabitants, with a median age of 19.7 years, is the youngest in the world. Due to both its localised epidemics of hunger and its huge untapped agricultural potential, Sub-Saharan Africa specifically is a key focus area for many NGOs and development agencies interested in food production and security.

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