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Sustainable intensification: A new paradigm for African Agriculture

A new paradigm for African Agriculture

August 8, 2013

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 terms scientific value and its potential relevance to all types of agricultural systems, including for smallholder farmers in Africa.


The 2013 Montpellier Panel 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 continents food and nutrition crisis. It begins by examining the process and elements of Intensification itself (ecological intensification, genetic intensification and socio-economic intensification), 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.

Further reading:

Brussels Launch by CTA and the EC

About the Montpellier Panel