Developing pathways to improve smallholder agricultural productivity through ecological intensification technologies in semi-arid Limpopo, South Africa

Farirai Rusere, Siyabusa Mkuhlani, Olivier Crespo, Lynn Dicks

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17 Citations (Scopus)
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Agriculture faces an enormous global challenge of feeding nine billion people by 2050. This means a comprehensive intensification of agriculture is required. Ecological intensification is gaining momentum as a clearly defined vision for increasing agriculture productivity and sustainability. How ecological intensification could be tailored to benefit smallholder farming systems in sub Saharan Africa (SSA) remains the major question. In this study, we develop pathways relying on ecological intensification technologies and suiting different farm types of smallholder agriculture. This study relies on multiyear engagements with agricultural experts and smallholder farmers in Ha Lambani, South Africa and leads to the identification of farmer groupings. We analyse 40 in-depth semi structured interviews with farmers which leads to the identification of farming patterns and constraints. We present how farming systems analysis of challenges and constraints helps to identify and link specific ecosystem services with suitable ecological intensification options. We conclude that the expert-based classification of farmers offered a more contextualized representation of farming system heterogeneity, where tailored ecological intensification technologies could play a major role in improving agricultural productivity. Beyond this community, it emphasizes the need to consider farmers type heterogeneity as a strong decision parameter for targeting ecological intensification.
Original languageEnglish
Article number543-553
JournalAfrican Journal of Science, Technology, Innovation and Development
Issue number5
Early online date24 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019

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