Pathways to sustainable intensification of agriculture

Pathways to sustainable intensification of agriculture

13 and 14 March, 2013. Montpellier, France. CIRAD, Agropolis International. Partners’ workshop IntensAfrica initiative.

The IntensAfrica initiative aims to build a research partnership at program level, between Africa and Europe on “sustainable intensification pathways” for agriculture. The initiative plans to align with the CAADP agenda, especially its 4th pillar, and with the European agricultural priorities. At the end of 2012, a preliminary concept note was drafted by 12 European research institutions, led by CIRAD in France and Wageningen University, Netherlands.

An initial consultation of potential European partners took place at Wageningen UR on 24 September 2012, gathering representatives of 13 European institutions representing in total 12 European countries. Participants showed their support for this initiative and contributed to the drafting of a first concept note. Within the proposed approach, sustainable intensification of agriculture would be viewed on different scales and with specific consideration of risks and vulnerability. Intensification would not be limited to the question of yield gap, but be analysed as a process for improving the total outputs of agricultural activities and their weight in food systems and rural livelihoods.

Participants confirmed that the initiative would question/compare/assess intensification pathways as regards their sustainability in economic, social and environmental terms, and cover agriculture and ecological sciences, as well as economic, social and policy sciences. It would also include capacity building and scientific leadership, and promote transdisciplinary approaches as well as stakeholder participation for setting the agenda. They further proposed that the initiative be built upon the numerous programmes currently under way in Africa, with the ambition to provide decision makers from farm to national or international level with documented knowledge and evidence.

The meeting concluded with an action plan, among others: a) elements of roadmap and governance issues, b) refining the concept note with Europe-Africa working group, c) mapping exercise, d) European Member States support and e) communication and interactions with other initiatives.

European partners: Catholic University of Leuven (BE), Centre de Cooperation Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement (FR), University of Copenhagen (DK), University of Hohenheim (DE), University of Bonn (DE), University of Greenwich (UK), Szent Istvan University (HU), Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NL), Instituto de Investigaçao Cientifica Tropical (PT), Czech University (CZ), Swedish University (SE), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (CH), Wageningen University and Research Centre (NL).

Related: Conference 25-27 September 2013: Sustainable intensification: The pathway to low carbon farming?

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