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Sustainable intensification in African agriculture

by Jules Pretty, Camilla Toulmin, Stella Williams
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Over the past half-century, agricultural production gains have provided a platform for rural and urban economic growth worldwide. In African countries, however, agriculture has been widely assumed to have performed badly. Foresight commissioned analyses of 40 projects and programmes in 20 countries where sustainable intensification has been developed during the 1990s–2000s. The cases included crop improvements, agroforestry and soil conservation, conservation agriculture, integrated pest management, horticulture, livestock and fodder crops, aquaculture and novel policies and partnerships. By early 2010, these projects had documented benefits for 10.39 million farmers and their families and improvements on approximately 12.75 million ha. Food outputs by sustainable intensification have been multiplicative—by which yields per hectare have increased by combining the use of new and improved varieties and new agronomic—agroecological management (crop yields rose on average by 2.13-fold), and additive—by which ...

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