Farming and food systems potentials

Dixon, J., Boffa, J.-M., Williams, T.O., de Leeuw, J., Fischer, G., & van Velthuizen, H. (2020). Farming and food systems potentials. In: Farming Systems and Food Security in Africa Priorities for Science and Policy under Global Change. Eds. Dixon, J., Garrity, D.P., Boffa, J.-M., Williams, T.O., Amede, T., Auricht, C., Lott, R., & Mburathi, G., Taylor & Francis Group. ISBN 978-1-138-96335-1 10.4324/9781315658841.

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Key messages

For policy purposes, Africa’s 15 farming systems can be grouped into high, medium and low food security potential, representing 61, 29 and 10 per cent of Africa’s agricultural population respectively.

A range of cross-cutting issues and linkages are common across farming systems, although strategic interventions must be tailored to each farming system’s context or to enhanced linkages between farming systems with benefits to market access, labour and livestock mobility, biosecurity and water conservation.

Yield gaps vary according to farming systems. However, most crops and livestock currently have productivities around one-quarter or less of their potential. It is feasible to reduce these huge yield gaps and thereby improve food security in all farming systems.

Intensification, diversification, increased farm size, increased off-farm income and exit from agriculture are strategies, taken singly or in combination, that households in different farming systems can implement for improvements in their livelihoods and food and nutrition security. Strategic interventions should consider the relative importance of these household strategies in different farming systems and the flow on effects.

Extremely poor farmers (half of Africa’s agricultural population) who live in farming systems with low food security potential, give their highest priority to increasing their off-farm income and to exiting from agriculture. Those in high-potential systems favour farm intensification and diversification strategies. Better-off households in all farming systems assign a high priority to farm intensification and diversification.

Item Type: Book Section
Research Programs: Water (WAT)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 12 May 2020 14:11
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:33

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