Given that hunger and malnutrition are still widespread problems in many developing countries, the question of how to make agriculture and food systems more nutrition-sensitive is of high relevance for research and policy. Many of the undernourished people in Africa and Asia are small-scale subsistence farmers. Diversifying production on these farms is often perceived as a promising strategy to improve dietary quality and diversity. This hypothesis is tested with data from smallholder farm households in Indonesia, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Malawi. Higher farm production diversity significantly contributes to dietary diversity in some situations, but not in all. Improving small farmers’ access to markets seems to be a more effective strategy to improve nutrition than promoting production diversity on subsistence farms.
A study from Papua, Indonesia, by scientists at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) is among the first to show how local communities are protecting extensive areas of land – in contrast to assumptions that such communities overuse or damage natural resources.
The December 2015 issue of Farming Matters will focus on women’s role in promoting agroecology and how it has helped them achieve their goals. The magazine will take a closer look at what motivates women to inspire progress in farming and food. Deadline: 1 September 2015. Read the full Call for articles and the Guide […]
The ‘parklands’ that form the most widespread farming systems in the Sahelian zone of West Africa are farming systems in which annual crops are grown under scattered trees preserved from the natural vegetation by farmers clearing the woodlands to make crop fields. Being mixed agricultural systems, the interactions between trees and crops have always been a key element determining the management options applied by farmers. A combination of field trials, observational studies and modeling has been deployed to understand soil–tree–crop interactions, including sharing of growth resources by the system components. Despite scientific advances, there are still some methodological challenges in determining the tradeoffs and synergies between and among goods and services, and how to boost the provisioning, supporting and regulating functions of such agroforestry systems. Providing such ecosystem service functions is critical in the quest for ensuring food security while achieving adaptation and mitigation goals in vulnerable environments like the drylands.
The March 2015 issue of Farming Matters magazine talks about the experiences of farmers who are working successfully, together with others, to improve the health of their soil and their lives. There is an array of stories about how healthy soils increase farmers’ autonomy and long-term productivity. Read the magazine: Soils for life
At its last meeting the FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture requested its Secretariat to carry out a survey that would help identify “Lessons learned about the ways and means to conserve and use genetic diversity to build resilience to climate change in food and agriculture systems”. This survey was carried out […]