5th International Symposium for  Farming Systems Design

5th International Symposium for Farming Systems Design

7-9 September 2015. Montpellier, France. FSD5 focused on “Multi-functional farming systems in a changing world” and was co-organized by the European Society for Agronomy (ESA) and the Agropolis scientific community. The symposium discussed methodological aspects of FSD research and their applications in agriculture, innovation and policy design.

FSD6 (forecasted in 2017 in Africa) will focus on “Sustainable intensification of agricultural systems” and will be organized by the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), member of the CGIAR Consortium.

Extracts of the programme of the plenary symposium:

  • Co-design of improved climbing bean technologies for smallholder farmers in Uganda.
    Esther Ronner, WUR, The Netherlands
  • Re-designing smallholder farming futures for reduced vulnerability to climate change in semi-arid southern Africa; Katrien Descheemaeker, ICRISAT, Zimbabwe
  • To mulch or to munch? Modelling the benefits and tradeoffs in the use of crop residues in Kenya. Daniel Rodriguez, University of Queensland, Australia
  • Identifying sustainable farms under diverse agro-ecological conditions and livelihood strategies in southern Africa: An interdisciplinary simulation-based approach. David Berre, CYMMIT, Zimbabwe
  • Faming systems analysis and land policy: The case of the Office du Niger area in Mali. Laurence Roudart, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
  • Land pressure and agrarian mutation, spatial modelling of farming systems evolution from plot to regional scale in West Burkina Faso. Camille Jahel, CIRAD, France
  • Gender and wealth influence how smallholder farmers make on-farm changes: a case study from Uganda. Skye Gabb, CSIRO, Australia
  • Innovation, knowledge management and researchers’ postures: exploring their linkages for improving the performance of innovation platforms. Ludovic Temple, INRA, France
This one day workshop of the FSD5 conference focused on the challenges, methods and achievements of research on analysis and design of Agricultural Systems in Africa. Presentations and discussion identified the opportunities, constraints and trade-offs at field, farm, landscape, supply chain and institutional levels, to support the transition of African agriculture towards a sustainable improvement of food production and reduction of poverty in the context of global change.

Extract of the presentations:

  • A more integrated approach for a diversity of intensification approaches and pathways to cope with the necessity of sustainable intensification of African agri-food systems: The IntensAfrica initiative: Position paper” Florent Maraux, CIRAD, France
Specific meetings: 
10 September 2015. This workshop was organized by CIRAD and its partners in the frame of the European project ProIntensAfrica. The  aim of this workshop was two-fold (1) to identify and characterize what are the existing, emerging, potential or possible pathways for sustainable intensification, and (2) to define what could be an adequate framework for describing what a pathway may entail, and how it can best be characterized. Analytically, three main dimensions seem to be needed to characterize any existing or emerging pathway:
  • A biophysical / technological dimension, which relates to the type of seeds and inputs used, the type of energy, the combination of crops, trees and/or animals, etc.
  • A socioeconomic dimension, relating to the intensity and form (family/wage workers) of labor mobilized, intensity of capital, territorial/cultural embeddedness, configuration and length of agrifood chains, norms and standards applied, etc.
  • The configuration of actor networks that engage in, support and/or promote the different pathways could form a third valuable dimension.

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