Agricultural Production

Agriculture is fundamental to all three pillars of sustainability, environment, society, and economy. However, the definition of sustainable agriculture and the capacities to measure it remain elusive. Independent and transparent measurements of national sustainability are needed to gauge progress, encourage accountability, and inform policy. Here, we developed a Sustainable Agriculture Matrix (SAM) to quantify national performance indicators in agriculture and to investigate the trade-offs and synergies based on historical data for most countries of the world.
Elsevier, World Development, Volume 118, June 2019
Globally, industrial agriculture threatens critical ecosystem processes on which crop production depends, while 815 million people are undernourished and many more suffer from malnutrition. The second Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 2), Zero Hunger, seeks to simultaneously address global environmental sustainability and food security challenges. We conducted an integrated literature review organized around three disciplinary perspectives central to realizing SDG 2: ecology and agricultural sciences, nutrition and public health, and political economy and policy science.
Elsevier, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Volume 34, February 2019
The emerging insects-as-food industry is increasingly promoted as a sustainable alternative to other animal protein production systems. However, the exact nature of its environmental benefits are uncertain because of the overwhelming lack of knowledge concerning almost every aspect of production: from suitable species, their housing and feed requirements, and potential for accidental release.
Elsevier, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Volume 34, February 2019
There is worldwide concern about the environmental costs of conventional intensification of agriculture. Growing evidence suggests that ecological intensification of mainstream farming can safeguard food production, with accompanying environmental benefits; however, the approach is rarely adopted by farmers. Our review of the evidence for replacing external inputs with ecosystem services shows that scientists tend to focus on processes (e.g., pollination) rather than outcomes (e.g., profits), and express benefits at spatio-temporal scales that are not always relevant to farmers.
Despite much policy attention to agricultural development in South Africa, efforts since democratisation have failed to raise smallholder engagement in agriculture and to break the trend of persistent rural poverty. This paper presents results from a study of the Massive Food Production Programme (MFPP) in three villages in Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. The MFPP aimed to reduce poverty by raising maize yields.
Elsevier, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Volume 8, June 2014
Sub-Saharan Africa needs to produce more food, feed, and fiber to support its growing population and intensification of smallholder agriculture is a crucial component of any strategy towards this goal. Sustainable Intensification (SI) acknowledges that enhanced productivity needs to go hand in hand with the maintenance of other ecosystem services and enhanced resilience to shocks. A very diverse group of smallholders dominate SSA agriculture, with large heterogeneity in socio-technical conditions, famer typologies, production objectives, and the biophysical environment.
For economic development to succeed in Africa in the next 50. years, African agriculture will have to change beyond recognition. Production will have to have increased massively, but also labor productivity, requiring a vast reduction in the proportion of the population engaged in agriculture and a large move out of rural areas. The paper questions how this can be squared with a continuing commitment to smallholder agriculture as the main route for growth in African agriculture and for poverty reduction.