Save and Grow a policymaker's guide to the sustainable intensification of smallholder crop production




3 Save and grow A policymaker’s guide to the sustainable intensification of smallholder crop production FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS Rome, 2011

4 Reprinted 2011, 2012, 2013 The designations employed and the presentation of material in this information product do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) concerning the legal or development status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. The mention of specific companies or products of manufacturers, whether or not these have been patented, does not imply that these have been endorsed or recommended by FAO in preference to others of a similar nature that are not mentioned. ISBN 978-92-5-106871-7 All rights reserved. FAO encourages reproduction and dissemination of material in this information product. Non-commercial uses will be authorized free of charge, upon request. Reproduction for resale or other commercial purposes, including educational purposes, may incur fees. Applications for permission to reproduce or disseminate FAO copyright materials, and all queries concerning rights and licences, should be addressed by e-mail to [email protected] or to the Chief, Publishing Policy and Support Branch, Office of Knowledge Exchange, Research and Extension, FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00153 Rome, Italy. © FAO 2011

5 Foreword Save and Grow in 2011, FAO proposed a ith the publication of W new paradigm of intensive crop production, one that is both highly productive and environmentally sustainable. FAO recognized that, over the past half-century, agriculture based on the intensive use of inputs has increased global food production and average per capita food consumption. In the process, however, it has depleted the natural resources of many agro-ecosystems, jeopardizing future productivity, and added to the greenhouse gases responsible for climate change. Moreover, it has not significantly reduced the number of chronically hungry, which is currently estimated at 870 million people. The challenge is to place food production and consumption on a truly sustainable footing. Between now and 2050, the global popula- tion is projected to rise from about 7 billion to 9.2 billion, demanding – if current trends continue – a 60 percent increase in global food production. Given the diminishing area of unused land with good agricultural potential, meeting that demand will require ever higher crop yields. Those increases, in turn, need to be achieved in the face of heightened competition for land and water, rising fuel and fertilizer prices, and the impact of climate change. Save and Grow addresses the crop production dimension of sustain- able food management. In essence, it calls for “greening” the Green Revolution through an ecosystem approach that draws on nature’s contributions to crop growth, such as soil organic matter, water flow regulation, pollination and bio-control of insect pests and diseases. It offers a rich toolkit of relevant, adoptable and adaptable ecosystem- based practices that can help the world’s 500 million smallholder farm families to achieve higher productivity, profitability and resource use efficiency, while enhancing natural capital. This eco-friendly farming often combines traditional knowledge with modern technologies that are adapted to the needs of small-scale producers. It also encourages the use of conservation agriculture, which boosts yields while restoring soil health. It controls insect pests by protecting their natural enemies rather than by spraying crops indiscriminately with pesticides. Through judicious use of mineral fertilizer, it avoids “collateral damage” to water quality. It uses preci- sion irrigation to deliver the right amount of water when and where it is needed. The Save and Grow approach is fully consistent with

6 iv Save and Grow the principles of climate-smart agriculture – it builds resilience to climate change and reduces greenhouse gas emissions through, for example, increased sequestration of carbon in soil. For such a holistic approach to be adopted, environmental virtue alone is not enough: farmers must see tangible advantages in terms of higher incomes, reduced costs and sustainable livelihoods, as well as compensation for the environmental benefits they generate. Policymakers need to provide incentives, such as rewarding good management of agro-ecosystems and expanding the scale of pub- licly funded and managed research. Action is needed to establish and protect rights to resources, especially for the most vulnerable. Developed countries can support sustainable intensification with relevant external assistance to the developing world. And there are huge opportunities for sharing experiences among developing coun- tries through South-South Cooperation. We also need to recognize that producing food sustainably is only part of the challenge. On the consumption side, there needs to be a shift to nutritious diets with a smaller environmental footprint, and a reduction in food losses and waste, currently estimated at almost 1.3 billion tonnes annually. Ultimately, success in ending hunger and making the transition to sustainable patterns of production and consumption requires transparent, participatory, results-focused and accountable systems of governance of food and agriculture, from global to local levels. This third reprint Save and Grow comes following the Rio+20 of Conference in June 2012 and the launch of the Zero Hunger Chal- lenge by the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon. The challenge has five elements: guarantee year-round access to adequate food, end stunting in children, double small farmer productivity, fos- ter sustainable food production systems, and reduce food waste and loss to zero. In assisting countries to adopt Save and Grow policies and approaches, FAO is responding to that challenge and helping to build the hunger-free world we all want. José Graziano da Silva Director-General Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

7 Contents Foreword iii vi Acknowledgements vii Overview The challenge 1 Chapter 1: Farming systems 15 Chapter 2: Chapter 3: Soil health 27 Chapter 4: Crops and varieties 39 Chapter 5: 51 Water management Chapter 6: Plant protection 65 Chapter 7: Policies and institutions 77 Sources 95 Abbreviations 102

8 vi Save and Grow Acknowledgements This book was produced under the Steering committee direction of Shivaji Pandey, Director of Chair: Shivaji Pandey (FAO) FAO’s Plant Production and Protection Rodney Cooke (IFAD), Dennis Garrity Division. Guidance was provided by (ICRAF), Toby Hodgkin (Bioversity a steering committee and a technical International), Philip Mikos (EC), advisory group. Final technical editing Mohammad Saeid Noori Naeini (Iran), was done by Mangala Rai (President of Timothy Reeves (Timothy G. Reeves the National Academy of Agricultural and Associates P/L, Australia), Amit Sciences, India), Timothy Reeves (former Roy (IFDC), M. S. Swaminathan (M. Director-General of the International S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, Maize and Wheat Improvement Center), India) and Shivaji Pandey. Technical advisory group Authors Hasan Bolkan (Campbell Soup Co., Lead authors: USA), Anne-Marie Izac (Future Harvest Linda Collette (FAO), Toby Hodgkin Alliance, France), Louise Jackson (Bioversity International), Amir Kassam (University of California, Davis, USA), (University of Reading, UK), Peter Janice Jiggins (Wageningen University Kenmore (FAO), Leslie Lipper (FAO), and Research Centre, the Netherlands), Christian Nolte (FAO), Kostas Stamoulis Patrick Mulvany (Intermediate (FAO), Pasquale Steduto (FAO) Technology Development Group, UK), Collaborators: Wayne Powell (Aberystwyth University, Manuela Allara (FAO), Doyle Baker UK), Jessie Sainz Binamira (Department (FAO), Hasan Bolkan (Campbell of Agriculture, the Philippines), Bob Soup Co., USA), Jacob Burke (FAO), Watson (University of East Anglia, UK) Romina Cavatassi (FAO), Mark L. Davis (FAO), Hartwig De Haen (University of Göttingen, Germany), João Carlos de Moraes Sá (Universidade Estadual de Ponta Grossa, Brazil), Marjon Fredrix (FAO), Theodor Friedrich (FAO), Kakoli Ghosh (FAO), Jorge Hendrichs (FAO/ IAEA), Barbara Herren (FAO), Francesca Mancini (FAO), Philip Mikos (EC), Thomas Osborn (FAO), Jules Pretty (University of Essex, UK), David Radcliffe (EC), Timothy Reeves (Timothy G. Reeves and Associates P/L, Australia), Mike Robson (FAO), Amit Roy (IFDC), Francis Shaxson (Tropical Agriculture Association, UK), Hugh Turral (RPF P/L, Australia), Harry Van der Wulp (FAO)

9 Overview 1. The challenge To feed a growing world population, we have no option but to intensify crop production. But farmers face unprecedented constraints. In order to grow, agriculture must learn to save. he Green Revolution led to a quantum leap in food T production and bolstered world food security. In many countries, however, intensive crop production has depleted agriculture’s natural resource base, jeopardizing future productivity. In order to meet projected demand over the next 40 years, farmers in the developing world must double food production, a challenge made even more daunting by the combined effects of climate change and growing competition for land, water and energy. This book presents a new paradigm: sustainable crop production intensification (SCPI), which produces more from the same area of land while conserving resources, reducing negative impacts on the environment and enhancing natural capital and the flow of ecosystem services. 2. Farming systems Crop production intensification will be built on farming systems that offer a range of productivity, socio-economic and environmental benefits to producers and to society at large. he ecosystem approach to crop production regenerates and T sustains the health of farmland. Farming systems for SCPI will be based on conservation agriculture practices, the use of good seed of high-yielding adapted varieties, integrated pest management, plant nutrition based on healthy soils, efficient water management, and the integration of crops, pastures, trees and livestock. The very nature of sustainable production systems is dynamic: they should offer farmers many possible combina- tions of practices to choose from and adapt, according to their local production conditions and constraints. Such systems are knowledge-intensive. Policies for SCPI should build capacity through extension approaches such as farmer field schools, and facilitate local production of specialized farm tools.

10 viii Save and Grow 3. Soil health Agriculture must, literally, return to its roots by rediscovering the importance of healthy soil, drawing on natural sources of plant nutrition, and using mineral fertilizer wisely. oils rich in biota and organic matter are the foundation of S increased crop productivity. The best yields are achieved when nutrients come from a mix of mineral fertilizers and natural sources, such as manure and nitrogen-fixing crops and trees. Judicious use of mineral fertilizers saves money and ensures that nutrients reach the plant and do not pollute air, soil and waterways. Policies to promote soil health should encourage conservation agriculture and mixed crop-livestock and agro- forestry systems that enhance soil fertility. They should remove incentives that encourage mechanical tillage and the wasteful use of fertilizers, and transfer to farmers precision approaches such as urea deep placement and site-specific nutrient management. 4. Crops and varieties Farmers will need a genetically diverse portfolio of improved crop varieties that are suited to a range of agro-ecosystems and farming practices, and resilient to climate change. enetically improved cereal varieties accounted for some G 50 percent of the increase in yields over the past few decades. Plant breeders must achieve similar results in the future. However, timely delivery to farmers of high-yielding varieties requires big improvements in the system that connects plant germplasm collections, plant breeding and seed delivery. Over the past century, about 75 percent of plant genetic resources (PGR) has been lost and a third of today’s diversity could disappear by 2050. Increased support to PGR collection, conservation and utilization is crucial. Funding is also needed to revitalize public plant breeding programmes. Policies should help to link formal and farmer-saved seed systems, and foster the emergence of local seed enterprises.

11 Overview ix 5. Water management Sustainable intensification requires smarter, precision technologies for irrigation and farming practices that use ecosystem approaches to conserve water. ities and industries are competing intensely with agriculture C for the use of water. Despite its high productivity, irrigation is under growing pressure to reduce its environmental impact, including soil salinization and nitrate contamination of aquifers. Knowledge-based precision irrigation that provides reliable and flexible water application, along with deficit irrigation and wastewater-reuse, will be a major platform for sustainable intensification. Policies will need to eliminate perverse subsidies that encourage farmers to waste water. In rainfed areas, climate change threatens millions of small farms. Increasing rainfed productivity will depend on the use of improved, drought tolerant varieties and management practices that save water. 6. Plant protection Pesticides kill pests, but also pests’ natural enemies, and their overuse can harm farmers, consumers and the environment. The first line of defence is a healthy agro-ecosystem. n well managed farming systems, crop losses to insects I can often be kept to an acceptable minimum by deploying resistant varieties, conserving predators and managing crop nutrient levels to reduce insect reproduction. Recommended measures against diseases include use of clean planting material, crop rotations to suppress pathogens, and eliminating infected host plants. Effective weed management entails timely manual weeding, minimized tillage and the use of surface residues. When necessary, lower risk synthetic pesticides should be used for targeted control, in the right quantity and at the right time. Integrated pest management can be promoted through farmer field schools, local production of biocontrol agents, strict pesticide regulations, and removal of pesticide subsidies.

12 x Save and Grow 7. Policies and institutions To encourage smallholders to adopt sustainable crop production intensification, fundamental changes are needed in agricultural development policies and institutions. irst, farming needs to be profitable: smallholders must be able to afford inputs and be sure of earning a reasonable price for F their crops. Some countries protect income by fixing minimum prices for commodities; others are exploring “smart subsidies” on inputs, targeted to low-income producers. Policymakers also need to devise incentives for small-scale farmers to use – for example, through payments for natural resources wisely environmental services and land tenure that entitles them to – and benefit from increases in the value of natural capital reduce the transaction costs of access to credit, which is urgently needed for investment. In many countries, regulations are needed to protect farmers from unscrupulous dealers selling bogus seed and other inputs. Major investment will be needed to rebuild research and technology transfer capacity in developing countries in order to provide farmers with appropriate technologies and to enhance their skills through farmer field schools.

13 Chapter 1 The challenge To feed a growing world population, we have no option but to intensify crop production. But farmers face unprecedented constraints. In order to grow, agriculture must learn to save


15 3 The Challenge Chapter 1: he history of agriculture can be seen as a long process of 1 , as society sought to meet its ever growing intensification needs for food, feed and fibre by raising crop productivity. T Over millennia, farmers selected for cultivation plants that were higher yielding and more resistant to drought and disease, built terraces to conserve soil and canals to distribute water to their fields, replaced simple hoes with oxen-drawn ploughs, and used animal manure as fertilizer and sulphur against pests. Agricultural intensification in the twentieth century represented a paradigm shift from traditional farming systems, based largely on the management of natural resources and ecosystem services, to the application of biochemistry and engineering to crop production. Following the same model that had revolutionized manufacturing, agriculture in the industrialized world adopted mechanization, stan- dardization, labour-saving technologies and the use of chemicals to feed and protect crops. Great increases in productivity have been achieved through the use of heavy farm equipment and machinery powered by fossil fuel, intensive tillage, high-yielding crop varieties, 2 . irrigation, manufactured inputs, and ever increasing capital intensity The intensification of crop production in the developing world began in earnest with the Green Revolution. Beginning in the 1950s and expanding through the 1960s, changes were seen in crop varieties 3 . The production model, which and agricultural practices worldwide focused initially on the introduction of improved, higher-yielding va- 4, 5 relied upon rieties of wheat, rice and maize in high potential areas and promoted homogeneity: genetically uniform varieties grown with high levels of complementary inputs, such as irrigation, fertilizers and pesticides, which often replaced natural capital. Fertilizers replaced soil quality management, while herbicides provided an alternative to 6 . crop rotations as a means of controlling weeds The Green Revolution is credited, especially in Asia, with having jump-started economies, alleviated rural poverty, saved large areas of fragile land from conversion to extensive farming, and helped to avoid a Malthusian outcome to growth in world population. Between 1975 and 2000, cereal yields in South Asia increased by more than 7 . Over the past 50 percent, while poverty declined by 30 percent half-century, since the advent of the Green Revolution, world annual production of cereals, coarse grains, roots and tubers, pulses and oil 8 . Growth crops has grown from 1.8 billion tonnes to 4.6 billion tonnes

16 4 Save and Grow Indicators of global crop production intensification, 1961-2007 Index (1961=100) 500 Fertilizer consumption 400 Cereal production 300 Cereal yield Irrigated 200 land area FAO. 2011. FAOSTAT statistical database Harvested ( land area 100 1981 1961 2007 2001 1991 1971 (billion tonnes) World production of major crops*, 1961-2009 3 Developing countries 2.5 2 Developed countries 1.5 1 FAO. 2011. * includes cereals, coarse grains, roots and tubers, FAOSTAT statistical database pulses and oil crops ( 0.5 Undernourished in developing world population, 1969-71 to 2010 (percent) 1969 – 71 30 1979 – 81 25 1990 – 92 2009 20 2000 – 02 2008 1995 – 97 15 2010 2005 – 07 10 5 FAO. 2010. The State of Food Insecurity in the World: Addressing food insecurity in protracted crises . Rome. 0

17 5 The Challenge Chapter 1: in cereal yields and lower cereal prices significantly reduced food in- security in the 1970s and 1980s, when the number of undernourished actually fell, despite relatively rapid population growth. Overall, the proportion of undernourished in the world population declined from 9 . 26 percent to 14 percent between 1969-1971 and 2000-2002 A gathering storm t is now recognized that those enormous gains in agricultural I pro duction and productivity were often accompanied by negative effects on agriculture’s natural resource base, so serious that they jeopardize its productive potential in the future. “Negative exter- nalities” of intensification include land degradation, salinization of irrigated areas, over-extraction of groundwater, the buildup of pest resistance and the erosion of biodiversity. Agriculture has also dam- aged the wider environment through, for example, deforestation, the 10, 11 . emission of greenhouse gases and nitrate pollution of water bodies It is also clear that current food production and distribution systems are failing to feed the world. The total number of under- nourished people in 2010 was estimated at 925 million, higher than it was 40 years ago, and in the developing world the prevalence 12 . About 75 percent of of undernourishment stands at 16 percent those worst affected live in rural areas of developing countries, with 13 . They liveli hoods that depend directly or indirectly on agriculture include many of the world’s half a billion low-income smallholder farmers and their families who produce 80 percent of the food sup- ply in developing countries. Together, smallholders use and manage more than 80 percent of farmland – and similar proportions of other 14 . natural resources – in Asia and Africa world food security will be threatened by Over the next 40 years, a number of developments. The Earth’s population is projected to increase from an estimated 6.9 billion in 2010 to around 9.2 billion in 2050, with growth almost entirely in less developed regions; the 15 . highest growth rates are foreseen in the least developed countries By then, about 70 percent of the global population will be urban, compared to 50 percent today. If trends continue, urbanization and income growth in developing countries will lead to higher meat

18 6 Save and Grow World population, 2000-2050 (billions) 8 Less developed regions – Total 7 6 5 Less developed regions – Urban 4 3 More developed 2 regions – Total United Nations. World urbanization prospects, 1 the 2009 revision population database More developed ( regions – Urban 0 2040 2015 2045 2050 2020 2025 2030 2035 2010 2005 2000 Global average yields of major cereals, 1961-2009 (t/ha) 6 5 Maize 4 Rice 3 Wheat 2 FAO. 2011. FAOSTAT statistical database ( 1 Average rates of mineral fertilizer use, 2008/09 (kg of nutrients per ha) Western Europe South Asia North Africa North America Latin America East Asia Asia IFDC, Sub-Saharan Africa derived from FAOSTAT statistical database World ( 0 100 150 200 250 300 50

19 7 The Challenge Chapter 1: consumption, which will drive increased demand for cereals to feed livestock. The use of agricultural commodities in the production of biofuels will also con tinue to grow. By 2020, industrialized countries may be consuming 150 kg of maize per head per year in the form of ethanol – similar to rates of cereal food consumption in developing 16 . countries Those changes in demand will drive the need for significant in- creases in production of all major food and feed crops. FAO projec- tions suggest that by 2050 agricultural production must increase by 70 percent globally – and by almost 100 percent in developing countries – in order to meet food demand alone, excluding additional demand for agricultural products used as feedstock in biofuel pro duction. That is equivalent to an extra billion tonnes of cereals and 200 mil- lion tonnes of meat to be produced annually by 2050, compared with 10 . production between 2005 and 2007 there is little room for expansion of In most developing countries, arable land. Virtually no spare land is available in South Asia and the Near East/North Africa. Where land is available, in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, more than 70 percent suffers from soil and terrain constraints. Between 2015 and 2030, therefore, an estimated 80 percent of the required food production increases will have to come from intensification in the form of yield increases and higher 17 . However, the rates of growth in yield of the cropping intensities major food crops – rice, wheat and maize – are all declining. Annual growth in wheat yields slipped from about 5 percent a year in 1980 to 2 percent in 2005; yield growth in rice and maize fell from more 18 . In Asia, the than 3 percent to around 1 percent in the same period degradation of soils and the buildup of toxins in intensive paddy systems have raised concerns that the slowdown in yield growth 4 . reflects a deteriorating crop-growing environment The declining quality of the land and water resources available for crop production has major implications for the future. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has estimated that un- sustainable land use practices result in global net losses of cropland 19 . Resource degradation productivity averaging 0.2 percent a year reduces the productivity of inputs, such as fertilizer and irrigation. In the coming years, intensification of crop production will be required increasingly in more marginal production areas with less reliable pro-

20 Save and Grow 8 duction conditions, including lower soil quality, more limited access to water, and less favourable climates. Efforts to increase crop production will take place under rapidly changing, often unpredictable, environmental and socio-economic conditions. One of the most crucial challenges is the need to adapt to climate change, which – through alterations in temperature, pre- cipitation and pest incidence – will affect which crops can be grown 13 . In the near term, climate and when, as well as their potential yields variability and extreme weather shocks are projected to increase, 20-23 , with negative impacts on yield growth and affecting all regions food security particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia in the 24 . Agriculture (including deforestation) accounts period up to 2030 for about one third of greenhouse gas emissions; for this reason it 21 . While must contribute significantly to climate change mitigation crops can be adapted to changing environments, the need to reduce emissions will increasingly challenge conventional, resource-intensive 3 . agricultural systems Another significant source of future uncertainty is the price and availability of energy, needed to power farm operations and for the production of key inputs, principally fertilizer. As the supply of fossil fuels declines, their prices rise, driving up input prices, and conse- quently agricultural production costs. Fossil fuels can no longer be the sole source of energy for increasing productivity. Energy sources will have to be considerably diversified to reduce the cost of fuel for further agricultural intensification. for food in a sustainable The challenge of meeting future demand manner is made even more daunting, therefore, by the combined effects of climate change, energy scarcity and resource degrada- tion. The food price spike of 2008 and the surge in food prices to record levels early in 2011 portend rising and more frequent threats 25 . After examining a wide range of plausible to world food security futures – economic, demographic and climate – the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) estimated that the period 2010 to 2050 could see real price increases of 59 percent for wheat, 78 percent for rice and 106 percent for maize. The study concluded that rising prices reflect the “relentless underlying pressures on the world food system”, driven by population and income growth and by 26 . reduced productivity

21 9 The Challenge Chapter 1: The risk of persistent, long-term food insecurity remains most acute in low-income developing countries. The rate at which pres- sures are mounting on resources and the broader environment from the expansion and intensification of agriculture will be concentrated increasingly in countries with low levels of food consumption, high population growth rates and often poor agricultural resource endow- 27 . There, smallholders, who are highly dependent on ecosystem ments goods and services to provide food, fuel and fibre for their families and the market, are inherently more vulnerable to the declining qual- 14 . With- ity and quantity of natural resources and changes in climate out action to improve the productivity of smallholder agriculture in these countries, it is unlikely that the first Millennium Development Goal – with its targets of reducing by half the proportion of people living in hunger and poverty by 2015 – can be achieved. Another paradigm shift iven the current and burgeoning future challenges to our food G intensification of supply and to the environment, sustainable agricultural production is emerging as a major priority for policy- 7, 14 28 and international development partners . Sustainable makers intensification has been defined as producing more from the same area of land while reducing negative environmental impacts and increasing contributions to natural capital and the flow of environ- 29 . mental services Sustainable crop production intensification (or SCPI) is FAO’s first strategic objective. In order to achieve that objective, FAO has 30 . endorsed the “ecosystem approach” in agricultural management Essentially, the ecosystem approach uses inputs, such as land, water, seed and fertilizer, to complement the natural processes that support plant growth, including pollination, natural predation for pest control, 31 . and the action of soil biota that allows plants to access nutrients that an ecosystem approach There is now widespread awareness must underpin intensification of crop production. A major study of the future of food and farming up to 2050 has called for substantial changes throughout the world’s food system, including sustainable intensification to simultaneously raise yields, increase efficiency in

22 Save and Grow 10 the use of inputs and reduce the negative environmental effects of 32 . The International Assessment of Agricultural food production Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) also called for a shift from current farming practices to sustainable agriculture systems capable of providing both significant productivity 33 . increases and enhanced ecosystem services Assessments in developing countries have shown how farm prac- tices that conserve resources improve the supply of environmental services and increase productivity. A review of agricultural develop- ment projects in 57 low-income countries found that more efficient use of water, reduced use of pesticides and improv ements in soil 34 . Another health had led to average crop yield increases of 79 percent study concluded that agricultural systems that conserve ecosystem services by using practices such as conservation tillage, crop diversi- fication, legume intensification and biological pest control, perform 35, 36 . as well as intensive, high-input systems when effectively Sustainable crop production intensification, implemented and supported, will provide the “win-win” outcomes required to meet the dual challenges of feeding the world’s population and saving the planet. SCPI will allow countries to plan, develop and manage agricultural production in a manner that addresses society’s needs and aspirations, without jeopardizing the right of future gen- erations to enjoy the full range of environmental goods and services. One example of a win-win situation – that benefits farmers as well as the environment – would be a reduction in the overuse of inputs such as mineral fertilizers along with increases in productivity. As well as bringing multiple benefits to food security and the envi- ronment, sustainable intensification has much to offer small farmers and their families – who make up more than one-third of the global population – by enhancing their productivity, reducing costs, build- ing resilience to stress and strengthening their capacity to manage 14 . Reduced spending on agricultural inputs will free resources risk for investment in farms and farm families’ food, health and educa- 29 . Increases to farmers’ net incomes will be achieved at lower tion 31 . environmental cost, thus delivering both private and public benefits

23 11 The Challenge Chapter 1: Key principles cosystem approaches to agricultural intensification have emerged E over the past two decades as farmers began to adopt sustainable ement and conservation practices, such as integrated pest manag agriculture, often building on traditional techniques. Sustainable crop production intensification is characterized by a more systemic approach to managing natural resources, and is founded on a set of science-based environmental, institutional and social principles. Environmental principles The ecosystem approach needs to be applied throughout the food chain in order to increase efficiencies and strengthen the global food system. At the scale of cropping systems, management should be based on biological processes and integration of a range of plant spe- cies, as well as the judicious use of external inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides. SCPI is based on agricultural production systems and management practices that are described in the following chapters. They include: maintaining healthy soil to enhance crop nutrition; Ì cultivating a wider range of species and varieties in associations, Ì rotations and sequences; using well adapted, high-yielding varieties and good quality seeds; Ì integrated management of insect pests, diseases and weeds; Ì efficient water management. Ì For optimal impact on productivity and sustainability, SCPI will need to be applicable to a wide variety of farming systems, and adaptable to specific agro-ecological and socio-economic contexts. It is recognized that appropriate management practices are critical to realizing the benefits of ecosystem services while reducing dis- 36 . services from agricultural activities Institutional principles It is unrealistic to hope that farmers will adopt sustainable practices only because they are more environmentally friendly. Translating the environmental principles into large-scale, coordinated programmes of action will require institutional support at both national and local levels. For governments, the challenge is to improve coordination and communication across all subsectors of agriculture, from production

24 12 Save and Grow to processing and marketing. Mechanisms must be developed to strengthen institutional linkages in order to improve the formulation of policies and strategies for SCPI, and to sustain the scaling up of pi- lot studies, farmers’ experiences, and local and traditional knowledge. At the local level, farmer organizations have an important role to play in facilitating access to resources – especially land, water, credit 37 . and knowledge – and ensuring that the voice of farmers is heard Smallholder farmers also need access to efficient and equitable mar- kets, and incentives that encourage them to manage other ecosystem services besides food production. Farmer uptake of SCPI will depend on concrete benefits, such as increased income and reduced labour requirements. If the economic system ref lects costs appropriately – including the high environmental cost of unsustainable practices – the equation will shift in favour of the adoption of SCPI. Social principles Sustainable intensification has been described as a process of “social learning”, since the knowledge required is generally greater than that 14 . SCPI will require, used in most conventional farming approaches therefore, significant strengthening of extension services, from both traditional and non-traditional sources, to support its adoption by farmers. One of the most successful approaches for training farmers to incorporate sustainable natural resource management practices into their farming systems is the extension methodology known as 38 (FFS)*. farmer field schools * Pioneered in Southeast Asia in ople’s participa- Mobilizing social capital for SCPI will require pe the late 1980s as part of an FAO tion in local decision-making, ensuring decent and fair working regional programme on integrat- ed pest management for rice, the conditions in agriculture, and – above all – the recognition of the FFS approach has been adopted in more than 75 countries and critical role of women in agriculture. Studies in sub-Saharan Africa now covers a wide and growing overwhelmingly support the conclusion that differences in farm range of crops and crop produc- tion issues. yields between men and women are caused primarily by differences in access to resources and extension services. Closing the gender gap in agriculture can improve productivity, with important additional benefits, such as raising the incomes of female farmers and increasing 39 . the availability of food

25 13 The Challenge Chapter 1: The way forward ith policy support and adequate funding, sustainable crop W production intensification could be implemented over large production areas, in a relatively short period of time. The challenge facing policymakers is to find effective ways of scaling up sustainable intensification so that eventually hundreds of millions of people can 32 . In practical terms, the key implementation stages include: benefit Assessing potential negative impacts on the agro-ecosystem of Ì current agricultural practices. This might involve quantitative assessment for specific indicators, and reviewing plans with stake- holders at the district or provincial levels. Deciding at national level which production systems are potentially Ì unsustainable and therefore require priority attention, and which areas of ecosystem sustainability (e.g. soil health, water quality, conservation of biodiversity) are priorities for intervention. Working with farmers to validate and adapt technologies that Ì address those priorities in an integrated way, and use the experi- ence to prepare plans for investment and to develop appropriate institutions and policies. Rolling out programmes (with technical assistance and enabling Ì policies) based on the approaches and technologies described in this book. Monitoring, evaluating and reviewing progress, and making on- Ì course adjustments where required. This process can be iterative, and in any case relies on managing the interplay between national policy and institutions, on the one hand, and the local experience of farmers and consumers on the other. Monitoring of key ecosystem variables can help adjust and fine-tune SCPI initiatives. policymakers may need to consider is- In preparing programmes, sues that affect both SCPI and the development of the agricultural sector as a whole. There is a risk, for example, that policies that seek to achieve economies of scale through value chain development and consolidation of land holdings may exclude smallholders from the process, or reduce their access to productive resources. Improving transport infrastructure will facilitate farmers’ access to supplies of fertilizer and seed, both critical for SCPI, and to markets. Given the

26 14 Save and Grow high rate of losses in the food chain – an estimated 30 to 40 percent of food is lost to waste and spoilage worldwide – investment in process- ing, storage and cold chain facilities will enable farmers to capture more value from their production. Policymakers can also promote small farmers’ participation in SCPI by improving their access to production and market information through modern information and communication technology. International instruments, conventions, and treaties relevant to SCPI may need to be harmonized, improved and implemented more effectively. That will require collaboration between international or- ganizations concerned with rural development and natural resources* * Such as: FAO, the International as well as governments, civil society organizations and farmer associa- Fund for Agricultural Develop- ment (IFAD), the United Na- tions. Capacity is urgently needed to implement, at regional, national tions Development Programme (UNDP), UNEP, the World and local levels, internationally agreed governance arrangements**. Trade Organization (WTO) and In addition, a number of non-legally binding international instru- the Consultative Group on Inter- national Agricultural Research ments embody cooperation for the enhancement and sustain able use (CGIAR). of natural resources. They include guidelines and codes – such as ** Such as: the International Trea- the International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of ty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA), Pesticides – which aim at improving management of transboundary the International Plant Protec- threats to production, the environment and human health. Finally, tion Convention, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food has Codex Alimentarius, the United Nations Framework Convention produced guiding principles on land leasing and speculation in food on Climate Change (UNFCCC), commodity markets, and called for the scaling-up of ecological ap- the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and proaches in agriculture. biodiversity related agreements. There is no single blueprint for an ecosystem approach to crop production intensification. However, a range of farming practices and technologies, often location specific, have been developed. Chapters 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 describe this rich toolkit of relevant, adoptable and adaptable ecosystem-based practices that enhance crop productiv- ity and can serve as the cornerstone of national and regional pro- grammes. Chapter 7 provides details of the policy environment and the institutional arrangements that will facilitate the adoption and implementation of SCPI on a large scale.

27 Chapter 2 Farming systems Crop production intensification will be built on farming systems that offer a range of productivity, socio-economic and environmental benefits to producers and to society at large


29 17 Farming Systems Chapter 2: rops are grown under a wide range of production systems. At one end of the continuum is an interventionist approach, in which most aspects of production are controlled by C technological interventions such as soil tilling, protective or curative pest and weed control with agrochemicals, and the ap- plication of mineral fertilizers for plant nutrition. At the other end are production systems that take a predominantly ecosystem approach and are both productive and more sustainable. These agro-ecological systems are generally characterized by minimal disturbance of the natural environment, plant nutrition from organic and non-organic sources, and the use of both natural and managed biodiversity to produce food, raw materials and other ecosystem services. Crop production based on an ecosystem approach sustains the health of farmland already in use, and can regenerate land left in poor condi- 1 . tion by past misuse Farming systems for sustainable crop production intensification will offer a range of productivity, socio-economic and environmental benefits to producers and to society at large, including high and stable production and profitability; adaptation and reduced vulnerabil ity to climate change; enhanced ecosystem functioning and services; and reductions in agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions and “carbon footprint”. will be based on three technical principles: These farming systems simultaneous achievement of increased agricultural productivity Ì and enhancement of natural capital and ecosystem services; higher rates of efficiency in the use of key inputs, including water, Ì nutrients, pesticides, energy, land and labour; use of managed and natural biodiversity to build system resilience Ì to abiotic, biotic and economic stresses. required to implement those principles will The farming practices differ according to local conditions and needs. However, in all cases they will need to: minimize soil disturbance by minimizing mechanical tillage in Ì order to maintain soil organic matter, soil structure and overall soil health; on the soil enhance and maintain a protective organic cover Ì surface, using crops, cover crops or crop residues, in order to protect the soil surface, conserve water and nutrients, promote

30 18 Save and Grow Contribution of sustainable intensification farming system practices to important ecosystem services Friedrich, T., Kassam, A.H. & Shaxson, F. 2009. Conservation agriculture. Agriculture In: for developing countries. Science and technology options assessment (STOA) project. European Parliament. Karlsruhe, Germany, European Technology Assessment Group.

31 Chapter 2: Farming Systems 19 pest soil biological activity and contribute to integrated weed and management; – both annuals and per en- cultivate a wider range of plant species Ì nials – in associations, sequences and rotations that can include trees, shrubs, pastures and crops, in order to enhance crop nu tri- tion and improve system resilience. Those three key practices are generally associated with conservation agriculture (CA), which has been widely adopted in both developed * Conservation agriculture is now and developing regions*. However, in order to achieve the sustainable practised on about 117 million ha intensification necessary for increased food production, they need to worldwide, or about 8 percent of total crop land. Highest adop- be supported by four additional management practices: tion levels (above 50 percent of crop land) are found in Australia, the use of well adapted, high-yielding varieties with resistance to Ì Canada and the southern cone biotic and abiotic stresses and improved nutritional quality; of South America. Adoption is increasing in Africa, Central Asia , through crop enhanced crop nutrition based on healthy soils and China. Ì rotations and judicious use of organic and inorganic fertilizer; integrated management of pests, diseases and weeds using ap- Ì propriate practices, biodiversity and selective, low risk pesticides when needed; efficient water management , by obtaining “more crops from fewer Ì drops” while maintaining soil health and minimizing off-farm externalities. Ideally, SCPI is the combination of all seven of those practices applied simultaneously in a timely and efficient manner. However, the very nature of sustainable production systems is dynamic: they should offer farmers many combinations of practices to choose from and adapt, according to their local production conditions and 2-5 . constraints Applied together, or in various combinations, the recommended practices contribute to important ecosystems services and work synergistically to produce positive outcomes in terms of factor and overall productivity. For example, for a given amount of rainfall, soil moisture availability to plants depends on how the soil surface, soil organic matter and plant root systems are managed. Water produc- tivity under good soil moisture supply is enhanced when soils are healthy and plant nutrition is adequate. Good water infiltration and soil cover also minimize surface evaporation and maximize water

32 Save and Grow 20 use efficiency and productivity, in which the plants’ own capacity to absorb and use water also plays a role. One of the main requirements for ecologically sustainable produc- tion is healthy soil, creating an environment in the root zone that optimizes soil biota activity and permits root functioning to the maximum possible extent. Roots are able to capture plant nutrients and water and interact with a range of soil micro-organisms beneficial 2, 6, 7 . Maintenance or improve- to soil health and crop performance ment of soil organic matter content, soil structure and associated porosity are critical indicators of sustainable production and other ecosystem services. To be sustainable in the long term, the loss of organic matter in any agricultural system must never exceed the rate of soil formation. In most agro-ecosystems, that is not possible if the soil is mechanically 8 . Therefore, a key starting point for sustainable production disturbed intensification – and a major building block of SCPI – is maintain- ing soil structure and organic matter content by limiting the use of mechanical soil disturbance in the process of crop establishment and subsequent crop management. Minimized or zero tillage production methods – as practised in conservation agriculture – have significantly improved soil conditions, reduced degradation and enhanced productivity in many parts of the world. Most agricultural land continues to be ploughed, harrowed or hoed before every crop and during crop growth. The aim is to destroy weeds and facilitate water infiltration and crop establishment. However, recurring disturbance of topsoil buries soil cover and may destabilize soil structure. An additional effect is compaction of the 9 . soil, which reduces productivity One contribution of conservation agriculture to sustainable pro- duction intensification is minimizing soil disturbance and retaining the integrity of crop residues on the soil surface. CA approaches include minimized (or strip) tillage, which disturbs only the portion of the soil that is to contain the seed row, and zero tillage (also called no-tillage or direct seeding), in which mechanical disturbance of the soil is eliminated and crops are planted directly into a seedbed that 3 . has not been tilled since the previous crop Another management consideration relevant to SCPI is the role of farm power and mechanization. In many countries, the lack of 10 . farm power is a major constraint to intensification of production

33 21 Farming Systems Chapter 2: Using manual labour only, a farmer can grow enough food to feed, on average, three other people. With animal traction, the number 11 . Appropriate doubles, and with a tractor increases to 50 or more mechanization can lead to improved energy efficiency in crop pro- duction, which enhances sustainability and productive capacity and 12, 13 . reduces harmful effects on the environment At the same time, uncertainty about the price and availability of energy in the future suggests the need for measures to reduce overall requirements for farm power and energy. Conservation agriculture can lower those requirements by up to 60 percent, compared to conventional farming. The saving is due to the fact that most power intensive field operations, such as tillage, are eliminated or minimized, which eases labour and power bottlenecks particularly during land preparation. Investment in equipment, notably the number and size of tractors, is significantly reduced (although CA requires investment in new and appropriate farm implements). The savings also apply to small-scale farmers using hand labour or animal traction. Studies in the United Republic of Tanzania indicate that in the fourth year of implementing zero-tillage maize with cover crops, labour require- 14 . ments fell by more than half Potential constraints ome farming regions present special challenges to the introduc- S tion of specific SCPI practices. For example, under conservation agriculture, the lack of rainfall in subhumid and semi-arid climatic zones may limit production of biomass, which limits both the quan- tity of harvestable crops and the amount of residues available for use as soil cover, fodder or fuel. However, the water savings achieved by not tilling the soil generally lead to yield increases in the first years of adoption, despite the lack of residues. Scarcity of plant nutrients may prove to be a limiting factor in more humid areas, but the higher levels of soil biological activity achieved can enhance the long term 7, 15 . availability of phosphorus and other nutrients are often seen as un- Low soil disturbance or zero tillage systems suitable for farming on badly drained or compacted soils, or on heavy clay soils in cold and moist climates. In the first case, if bad drainage

34 Save and Grow 22 is caused by an impermeable soil horizon beyond the reach of tillage equipment, only biological means – such as tap roots, earthworms and termites – can break up such deep barriers to water percolation. Over time, these biological solutions are facilitated by minimal soil disturbance. In the second case, mulch-covered soils do take longer to warm up and dry, compared to ploughed land. However, zero till- age is practised successfully by farmers under very cold conditions in Canada and Finland, where studies have found that the temperature 13, 16 . of covered soils does not fall as much in winter Another misperception of minimized or zero tillage systems is that they increase the use of insecticides and herbicides. In some intensive systems, the integrated use of zero tillage, mulching and crop diversi- fication has led to reductions in the use of insecticides and herbicides, in terms of both absolute amounts and active ingredient applied per 12, 13 . tonne of output, compared with tillage-based agriculture In manual smallholder systems, herbicides can be replaced by integrated weed management. For example, since conservation agri culture was introduced in 2005 in Karatu district, the United Republic of Tanzania, farmers have stopped ploughing and hoeing and are growing mixed crops of direct-seeded maize, hyacinth bean and pigeon pea. This system produces good surface mulch, so that weed management can be done by hand without need for herbicides. In some years, fields are rotated into wheat. The overall results have been positive, with average per hectare maize yields increasing from 1 tonne to 6 tonnes. This dramatic yield increase was achieved with- out agrochemicals and using livestock manure as a soil amend ment 17 . and fertilizer Another potential bottleneck for wide adoption of conservation agriculture is the lack of suitable equipment, such as zero till seeders and planters, which are unavailable to small farmers in many devel- oping countries. Even where this equipment is sold, it is often more expensive than conventional equipment and requires consider able initial investment. Such bottlenecks can be overcome by facil itating input supply chains and local manufacturing of equip ment, and by promoting contractor services or equipment sharing schemes among farmers in order to reduce costs. Excellent examples of these approaches can be found on the Indo-Gangetic Plain. In most small farm scenarios, zero-till planters that use animal traction would meet and exceed the needs of a single farmer.

35 Farming Systems Chapter 2: 23 Farming systems that save and grow n ecosystem approach to the use of land for grazing or cutting. A intensification of crop production is In conventional farming systems, most effective when the appropriate, there is a clear distinction between mutually reinforcing practices are applied arable crops and pastureland. With SCPI, together. Even where it is not possible to this distinction no longer exists, since implement all recommended practices annual crops may be rotated with pasture at the same time, improvement towards without the destructive intervention of that goal should be encouraged. The soil tillage. This “pasture cropping” is an exciting development in a number of principles of SCPI can be readily integrated countries. In Australia, pasture cropping into farming systems that either have involves direct-drilling winter crops, such features in common with ecosystem- as oats, into predominantly summer- based approaches or can be improved growing pastures of mainly native species. by underpinning them with similar Benefits suggested by field experiments principles. include reduced risk of waterlogging, 18  Integrated crop-livestock . nitrate leaching and soil erosion production Practical innovations have harnessed synergies between crop, livestock and Integrated crop-livestock production agroforestry production to enhance systems are practised by most economic and ecological sustainability smallholders in developing countries. while providing a flow of valued Pastureland has important ecological ecosystem services. Through functions: it contains a high increased biological diversity, percentage of perennial efficient nutrient grasses, which sequester recycling, improved and safely store large soil health and amounts of carbon in forest conservation, the soil at rates far these systems increase exceeding those environmental resilience, of annual crops. and contribute to climate That capacity can change adaptation and be further enhanced with mitigation. They also enhance appropriate management – for livelihood diversification and efficiency example, by replacing exported by optimizing production inputs, nutrients, maintaining diversity including labour, and increase in plant species, and allowing for 19 . resilience to economic stresses sufficient recovery periods between alfalfa

36 24 Save and Grow hectare, primarily owing to a drastic  Sustainable rice-wheat reduction in tractor time and fuel for land production preparation and wheat establishment. Sustainable productivity in rice-wheat Some 620 000 farmers on 1.8 million ha farming systems was pioneered on the of the Indo-Gangetic Plain have adopted Indo-Gangetic Plain of Bangladesh, India, the system, with average income gains Nepal and Pakistan by the Rice-Wheat of US$180 to US$340 per household. Consortium, an initiative of the CGIAR and Replicating the approach elsewhere national agriculture research centres. It will require on-farm adaptive and was launched in the 1990s in response to participatory research and development, evidence of a plateau in crop productivity, links between farmers and technology loss of soil organic matter and receding suppliers and, above all, interventions that 20 . groundwater tables are financially attractive. The system involves the planting of wheat after rice using a tractor-drawn seed drill, which seeds directly into unploughed fields with a single pass. As this specialized agricultural machinery was originally not available in South Asia, the key to diffusion of the technology was creating a local manufacturing capacity to supply affordable zero tillage drills. 21 found that zero tillage An IFPRI study wheat provides immediate, identifiable tagasaste wheat and demonstrable economic benefits. It permits earlier planting, helps control  Agroforestry weeds and has significant resource Agroforestry systems, involving the conservation benefits, including reduced cultivation of woody perennials and use of diesel fuel and irrigation water. annual crops, are increasingly practised Cost savings are estimated at US$52 per on degraded land, usually with perennial legumes. Conservation agriculture Financial advantage of zero works well with agroforestry and several tillage over conventional tree crop systems, and farmers in both (US$/ha) tillage in Haryana, India 70 developing and developed regions 60 practise it in some form. These systems 50 could be further enhanced by improved 40 crop associations, including legumes, and 30 integration with livestock. Alley cropping Erenstein, O. 2009. Adoption and impact of 20 conservation agriculture based resource conserving is one innovation in this area that offers 10 Proceedings of the technologies in South Asia. In: productivity, economic and environmental 0 4th world congress on conservation agriculture, Yield Cost Net 22 New Delhi, February 4−7, 2009, New Delhi, India. . Another example benefits to producers benefit saving World Congress on Conservation Agriculture.

37 Chapter 2: 25 Farming Systems is the use of varying densities of “fertilizer trees” that enhance biological nitrogen fixation, conserve moisture and increase production of biomass for use as surface Soil health ). residues (see Chapter 3,  Ripper-furrower system in Namibia Farmers in the north of Namibia are using conservation agriculture practices to grow drought tolerant crops, including millet, sorghum and maize. The farming system uses a tractor-drawn ripper-furrower to rip the hard pan to a depth of 60 cm and form furrows for in-field rainfall harvesting. The harvested water is concentrated in the root zone of crops, which are planted in the rip lines together with a mixture of maize fertilizer and manure. Tractors are used in the first year to establish the system. serves mainly niche markets and is From the second year, farmers plant crops practised in parts of Brazil, Germany directly into the rip lines using an animal- and the United States of America, and drawn direct seeder. by some subsistence farmers in Africa. Crop residues are consumed mainly Shifting cultivation entails the clearing by livestock, but the increased biomass for crop production of forest land that produced by the system also provides is subsequently abandoned, allowing some residues for soil cover. Farmers are natural reforestation and the recovery encouraged to practise crop rotation with of depleted plant nutrients. Although legumes. Those techniques lengthen shifting cultivation is often viewed the growing season and improve soil negatively, it can be adapted to follow structure, fertility and moisture retention. SCPI principles. In place of slash-and- Average maize yields have increased from burn, shifting cultivators could adopt 300 kg/ha to more than 1.5 tonnes. slash-and-mulch systems, in which diversified cropping (including legumes  Other production systems and perennials) reduces the need for land clearing. Other ecosystem-based , when practised Organic farming System of Rice approaches, such as the in combination with conservation , have also proven, in Intensification agriculture, can lead to improved soil specific circumstances, to be successful as health and productivity, increased 23 . a basis for sustainable intensification efficiency in the use of organic matter and energy savings. Organic CA farming

38 Save and Grow 26 The way forward arming systems for sustainable crop production intensification F will be built on the three core technical principles outlined in this chapter, and implemented using the seven recommended manage- ment practices: minimum soil disturbance, permanent organic soil cover, species diversification, use of high-yielding adapted varieties from good seed, integrated pest management, plant nutrition based on healthy soils, and efficient water management. The integration of pastures, trees and livestock into the production system, and the use of adequate and appropriate farm power and equipment, are also key parts of SCPI. The shift to SCPI systems can occur rapidly when there is a suit- able enabling environment, or gradually in areas where farmers face particular agro-ecological, socio-economic or policy constraints, including a lack of the necessary equipment. While some economic and environmental benefits will be achieved in the short term, a longer term commitment from all stakeholders is necessary in order to achieve the full benefits of such systems. Monitoring of progress in production system practices and their outcomes will be essential. Relevant socio-economic indicators include farm profit, factor productivity, the amount of external inputs applied per unit of output, the number of farmers practising sustainable intensified systems, the area covered, and the stability of production. Relevant ecosystem service indicators are: satisfac- tory levels of soil organic matter, clean water provisioning from an intensive agriculture area, reduced erosion, increased biodiversity and wildlife within agricultural landscapes, and reductions in both carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions. Production systems for SCPI are knowledge-intensive and relatively complex to learn and implement. For most farmers, extensionists, researchers and policymakers, they are a new way of doing business. Consequently, there is an urgent need to build capacity and provide learning opportunities (for example, through farmer field schools) and technical support in order to improve the skills all stakehold- ers. That will require coordinated support at the international and regional levels to strengthen national and local institutions. Formal education and training at tertiary and secondary levels will need to upgrade their curricula to include the teaching of SCPI principles and practices.

39 Chapter 3 Soil health Agriculture must, literally, return to its roots by rediscovering the importance of healthy soil, drawing on natural sources of plant nutrition, and using mineral fertilizer wisely


41 29 Soil Health Chapter 3: oil is fundamental to crop production. Without soil, no food could be produced on a large scale, nor would livestock be fed. Because it is finite and fragile, soil is a precious resource S that requires special care from its users. Many of today’s soil and crop management systems are unsustainable. At one extreme, overuse of fertilizer has led, in the European Union, to nitrogen (N) deposition that threatens the sustainability of an estimated 70 per- 1 . At the other extreme, in most parts of sub-Saharan cent of nature Africa, the under-use of fertilizer means that soil nutrients exported with crops are not being replenished, leading to soil degradation and declining yields. How did the current situation arise? The main driver was the quadrupling of world population over the past 100 years, which demanded a fundamental change in soil and crop management in order to produce more food. That was achieved thanks partly to the development and massive use of mineral fertilizers, especially of nitrogen, since N availability is the most important determinant of 2-5 . yield in all major crops Before the discovery of mineral N fertilizers, it took centuries to 6 . By contrast, the explosion in build up nitrogen stocks in the soil food production in Asia during the Green Revolution was due largely to the intensive use of mineral fertilization, along with improved germplasm and irrigation. World production of mineral fertilizers increased almost 350 percent between 1961 and 2002, from 33 mil- 7 . Over the past 40 years, mineral lion tonnes to 146 million tonnes fertilizers accounted for an estimated 40 percent of the increase in 8 . food production has also carried The contribution of fertilizers to food production significant costs to the environment. Today, Asia and Europe have the world’s highest rates of mineral fertilizer use per hectare. They also face the greatest problems of environmental pollution resulting from excessive fertilizer use, including soil and water acidification, contamination of surface and groundwater resources, and increased emissions of potent greenhouse gases. The N-uptake efficiency in China is only about 26-28 percent for rice, wheat and maize and less 9 . The remainder is simply lost than 20 percent for vegetable crops to the environment. The impact of mineral fertilizers on the environment is a question of management – for example, how much is applied compared to the

42 Save and Grow 30 amount exported with crops, or the method and timing of applica- of fertilizer use, especially efficiency tions. In other words, it is the of N and phosphorus (P), which determines if this aspect of soil management is a boon for crops, or a negative for the environment. The challenge, therefore, is to abandon current unsustainable practices and move to land husbandry that can provide a sound foun- dation for sustainable crop production intensification. Far-reaching changes in soil management are called for in many countries. The new approaches advocated here build on work undertaken by both 13-20 10-12 , and focus on the manage- and many other institutions FAO ment of soil health. Principles of soil health management oil health has been defined as: “the capacit y of soil to function as a S living system. Healthy soils maintain a diverse community of soil organisms that help to control plant disease, insect and weed pests, form beneficial symbiotic associations with plant roots, recycle essen- tial plant nutrients, improve soil structure with positive repercussions for soil water and nutrient holding capacity, and ultimately improve 21 . To that definition, an ecosystem perspective can crop production” be added: A healthy soil does not pollute the environment; rather, it contributes to mitigating climate change by maintaining or increas- ing its carbon content. Soil contains one of the Earth’s most diverse assemblages of living organisms, intimately linked via a complex food web. It can be either sick or healthy, depending on how it is managed. Two crucial char- acteristics of a healthy soil are the rich diversity of its biota and the high content of non-living soil organic matter. If the organic matter is increased or maintained at a satisfactory level for productive crop growth, it can be reasonably assumed that a soil is healthy. Healthy soil is resilient to outbreaks of soil-borne pests. For exa mple, the 22 . Even parasitic weed, Striga , is far less of a problem in healthy soils the damage caused by pests not found in the soil, such as maize stem 23 . borers, is reduced in fertile soils The diversity of soil biota is greater in the tropics than in temperate 24 . Because the rate of agricultural intensification in the future zones will generally be greater in the tropics, agro-ecosystems there are

43 31 Soil Health Chapter 3: under particular threat of soil degradation. Any losses of biodiversity and, ultimately, ecosystem functioning, will affect subsistence farm- ers in the tropics more than in other regions, because they rely to a larger extent on these processes and their services. Functional interactions of soil biota with organic and inorganic components, air and water determine a soil’s potential to store and release nutrients and water to plants, and to promote and sustain plant growth. Large reserves of stored nutrients are, in themselves, no guar- antee of high soil fertility or high crop production. As plants take up most of their nutrients in a water soluble form, nutrient transformation and cycling – through processes that may be biological, chemical or physical in nature – are essential. The nutrients need to be transported to plant roots through free-flowing water. Soil structure is, therefore, another key component of a healthy soil because it determines a soil’s water-holding capacity and rooting depth. The rooting depth may be restricted by physical constraints, such as a high water table, bedrock or other impenetrable layers, as well as by chemical problems such as soil acidity, salinity, sodality or toxic substances. required for plant growth A shortage of any one of the 15 nutrients can limit crop yield. To achieve the higher productivity needed to meet current and future food demand, it is imperative to ensure their availability in soils and to apply a balanced amount of nutrients from organic sources and from mineral fertilizers, if required. The timely provision of micronutrients in “fortified” fertilizers is a potential source of enhanced crop nutrition where deficiencies occur. Nitrogen can also be added to soil by integrating N-fixing legumes and trees into cropping systems (see also Chapter 2, Farming sys- tems ). Because they have deep roots, trees and some soil-improving legumes have the capacity to pump up from the subsoil nutrients that would otherwise never reach crops. Crop nutrition can be enhanced mple, between crop roots ssociations – for exa by other biological a and soil mycorrhizae, which help cassava to capture phosphorus in depleted soils. Where these ecosystem processes fail to supply suf- ficient nutrients for high yields, intensive production will depend on the judicious and efficient application of mineral fertilizers. A combination of ecosystem processes and wise use of mineral fertilizers forms the basis of a sustainable soil health management system that has the capacity to produce higher yields while using fewer external inputs.

44 32 Save and Grow Technologies that save and grow o single technology is likely to address Increasing soil organic matter  N the specific soil health and soil fertility in soils in Latin America constraints that prevail in different Oxisols and ultisols are the dominant soil locations. However, the basic principles of types in Brazil’s Cerrado tropical savanna good soil health management, outlined and Amazon rainforest regions, and they above, have been successfully applied in are also widespread in Africa’s humid a wide range of agro-ecologies and under forest zone. Among the oldest on earth, diverse socio-economic conditions. these soils are poor in nutrients and very Building on soil health management acidic, owing to their low capacity to principles, research in different regions of hold nutrients – and cations in particular the world has identified some “best-bet” – in their surface and subsoil layers. In technologies. The following examples addition, being located in regions with describe crop management systems that high rainfall, they are prone to erosion if have high potential for intensification the surface is not protected by vegetative and sustainable production. They address cover. specific soil fertility problems in different Upon conversion of the land from agro-ecological zones and have been natural vegetation to agricultural use, widely adopted by farmers. They may special care has to be taken to minimize serve as templates for national partners in losses of soil organic matter. Management devising policies that encourage farmers systems for these soils have been designed to adopt these technologies as part of to conserve or even increase organic matter sustainable intensification. by providing permanent soil cover, using a mulching material rich in carbon, and ensuring minimized or zero tillage of the Expansion of zero tillage area in Brazil soil surface. These practices are all key (millions of ha) 30 components of the SCPI approach. Such systems are being rapidly adopted 25 by farmers in many parts of Latin America, and particularly in humid and subhumid 20 zones, because they control soil erosion and generate savings by reducing labour 15 inputs. Adoption has been facilitated by close collaboration between government 10 research and extension services, farmer associations and private companies 5 that produce agrochemicals, seed and 0 No-till cropping system in Brazil: Its perspectives and new de Moraes Sá, J.C. 2010. technologies to improve and develop. Presentation prepared for the International Conference on Agricultural Engineering, 6-8 September 2010, Clermont-Ferrand, France (

45 Chapter 3: Soil Health 33 N-deficient maize cropping systems machinery. Zero-till farming has spread rapidly and now covers 26 million hectares have become more productive thanks to on oxisols and ultisols in Brazil. improved fallows using leguminous trees and shrubs. Per hectare, species such  Biological nitrogen fixation Sesbania sesban, Tephrosia vogelii and as to enrich N-poor soils in African accumulate in their Crotalaria ochroleuca savannas leaves and roots around 100 to 200 kg of nitrogen – two-thirds of it Crop production in the savanna regions from nitrogen fixation – over a of western, eastern and southern period of six months to two years. Africa is severely constrained by N- and 17, 25 Along with subsequent applications , as well as the P-deficiency in soils of mineral fertilizer, these improved lack of micronutrients such as zinc and fallows provide sufficient N for up to three molybdenum. The use of leguminous subsequent maize crops, resulting in crops and trees that are able to fix yields as much as four times higher than Sesbania sesban atmospheric nitrogen, in combination those obtained in non-fallow systems. with applications of mineral P-fertilizers, Research indicates that a full has shown very promising results in agroforestry system with crop-fallow on-farm evaluations conducted by rotations and high value trees can triple the Tropical Soil Biology and Fertility 28 . a farm’s carbon stocks in 20 years Institute, the World Agroforestry Centre The system has been so successful that and the International Institute of Tropical tens of thousands of farmers in Kenya, Agriculture (IITA). Malawi, Mozambique, Uganda, the The combination of mineral fertilizer United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia application and a dual-purpose grain and Zimbabwe are now adapting the legume, such as soybean, intercropped or component technologies to their local relay-cropped with maize, increased maize 17 conditions. yields in Kenya by 140 to 300 percent and resulted in a positive N-balance Average amounts of nitrogen in the cropping system. Dual-purpose fixed by various legumes (kg N/ha/yr) grain legumes produce a large amount of biomass with their haulms and roots, 350 as well as an acceptable grain yield. 300 Several farming communities in eastern and southern Africa have adopted this 250 26 . It has the additional advantage system Striga – some of helping farmers to combat 200 soybean cultivars act as “trap crops”, which 150 seeds to germinate when the Striga force weed’s usual hosts, maize or sorghum, are 100 10, 27 . not present In eastern and southern Africa, 50 Legume inoculants FAO. 1984. Stylo Pigeon pea Leucaena Cowpea Mung bean Alfalfa and their use. Rome. 0

46 34 Save and Grow from maize grown nearby, but outside 29 . Today, more than of the tree canopy 160 000 farmers in Zambia are growing ha with Faidherbia. food crops on 300 000 Similarly promising results have been observed in Malawi, where maize yields trees are almost three Faidherbia near times higher than yields outside their range. In Niger, there are now more than Faidherbia - 4.8 million hectares under based agroforesty, resulting in enhanced  Evergreen agriculture millet and sorghum production. in Africa’s Sahel Thousands of rainfed smallholdings , is a Faidherbia albida The African acacia, in Burkina Faso are also shifting to these natural component of farming systems “evergreen” farming systems. in the Sahel. It is highly compatible with Faidherbia albida food crops because it does not compete  “Urea deep placement” with them for light, nutrients or water. for rice in Bangladesh In fact, the tree loses its nitrogen-rich Throughout Asia, farmers apply nitrogen leaves during the rainy season, thus fertilizer to rice before transplanting providing a protective mulch which by broadcasting a basal application also serves as natural fertilizer for crops. of urea onto wet soil, or into standing Zambia’s Conservation Farming Unit water, and then broadcasting one or has reported unfertilized maize yields of more top-dressings of urea in the weeks 4.1 tonnes per hectare in the vicinity of after transplanting up to the flowering Faidherbia trees, compared to 1.3 tonnes stage. Such practices are agronomically and economically inefficient and Crop yields under and outside Faidherbia albida canopy environmentally harmful. The rice plants (t/ha) use only about a third of the fertilizer 3.5 30 , while much of the remainder applied Under is lost to the air through volatilization and 3.0 surface water run-off. Only a small amount Outside 2.5 remains in the soil and is available to subsequent crops. 2.0 One way of reducing N losses is to 1.5 compress prilled urea to form urea super granules (USG) which are inserted 7 to 1.0 cm deep in the soil between plants. This 10 “urea deep placement” (UDP) doubles the 0.5 percentage of nitrogen taken up by 31-35 0 , reduces N lost to the air and to plants Maize Sorghum Millet Groundnut Agroforestry parklands in sub-Saharan Africa, FAO. 1999. by J.-M. Boffa. Rome.

47 Chapter 3: Soil Health 35  Site-specific nutrient Average rice yields using prilled urea and urea deep management in intensive rice placement (UDP)*, The International Rice Research Institute Bangladesh, 2010 (t/ha) (IRRI) and its national partners have 7 developed the site-specific nutrient 6 management (SSNM) system for highly 5 intensive rice production. SSNM is a sophisticated knowledge system focused 4 on double and triple rice mono-cropping. 3 Tests at 180 sites in eight key irrigated rice 2 domains of Asia found that the system 1 led to a 30 to 40 percent increase in N-use With prilled urea With prilled urea With UDP With UDP efficiency, mainly thanks to improved N 0 Demonstration Farmers' management. Across all sites and four plots fields successive rice crops, profitability increased * Data from 301 farmers’ plots by an average of 12 percent. and 76 demonstration plots In several provinces of China, SSNM IFDC. 2010. Improved livelihood for Sidr-affected rice reduced farmers’ use of N-fertilizer Quarterly report submitted to USAID- farmers (ILSAFARM). by one third, while increasing Bangladesh, No. 388-A-00-09-00004-00. Muscle Shoals, USA. 37 . A site-specific percent yields by 5 N-management strategy was able to increase uptake efficiency by almost surface water run-off, and has produced 9 . 370 percent on the North China Plain average yield increases of 18 percent in Since the average plant recovery efficiency farmers’ fields. The International Fertilizer of nitrogen fertilizer in intensive rice Development Center and the United States systems is only about 30 percent, those are Agency for International Development are remarkable achievements that contribute helping smallholder farmers to upscale substantially to reducing the negative UDP technology throughout Bangladesh. environmental effects of rice production. The goal is to reach two million farmers in 36 The complex SSNM technology is being . The technology is spreading five years simplified in order to facilitate its wider fast in Bangladesh and is being adoption by farmers. rice other countries, most of investigated by 15 them in sub-Saharan Africa. The machines used to produce USG in Bangladesh are manufactured locally and cost between US$1 500 and US$2 000.

48 Save and Grow 36 The way forward he following actions are required to improve current land hus- T bandry practices and provide a sound basis for the successful adoption of sustainable crop production intensification. Responsibility for implementation rests with national partners, assisted by FAO and other international agencies. A sup- Establish national regulations for sound land husbandry. portive policy framework should aim at encouraging farmers to adopt sustainable farming systems based on healthy soils. Leadership is required to establish and monitor best practices, with the active participation of smallholder farmers and their communities. Govern- ments must be prepared to regulate farming practices that cause soil degradation or pose serious threats to the environment. Monitor soil health. Policymakers and national institutions respon- sible for the environment are demanding methods and tools to verify the impact of farming practices. While monitoring soil health is a 38 , very challenging task, efforts are under way to implement it at global 39 . Monitoring the impact of agricultural regional and national scales production has advanced in developed countries, but is just beginning in many developing countries. FAO and its partners have developed a list of methods and tools for undertaking assessments and mon itoring 40 . Core land quality indicators requiring immediate and longer tasks 41 . Priority indicators are term development should be distinguished soil organic matter content, nutrient balance, yield gap, land use intensity and diversity, and land cover. Indicators that still need to be developed are soil quality, land degradation and agrobiodiversity. Build capacity. Soil health management is knowledge-intensive and its wide adoption will require capacity building through training pro- grammes for extension workers and farmers. The skills of research- ers will also need to be upgraded at both national and international levels, in order to provide the enhanced knowledge necessary to support soil management under SCPI. Policymakers should explore new approaches, such as support groups for adaptive research coop- 42 , which provide technical support and on-the-job training eration for national research institutions and translate research results into practical guidelines for small farmers. National capacity to undertake on-farm research must also be strengthened, and focused on address-

49 37 Soil Health Chapter 3: ing spatial and temporal variability through, for example, better use of ecosystems modelling. Disseminate information and communicate benefits. Any large- scale implementation of soil health management requires that sup- porting information is made widely available, particularly through channels familiar to farmers and extension workers. Given the very high priority attached to soil health in SCPI, media outlets should include not only national newspapers and radio programmes, but also modern information and communication technologies, such as cellular phones and the Internet, which can be much more effective in reaching younger farmers.


51 Chapter 4 Crops and varieties Farmers will need a genetically diverse portfolio of improved crop varieties, suited to a range of agro-ecosystems and farming practices, and resilient to climate change


53 41 Crops and Varieties Chapter 4: ustainable crop production intensification will use crops and varieties that are better adapted to ecologically based produc- tion practices than those currently available, which were bred S for high-input agriculture. The targeted use of external inputs will require plants that are more productive, use nutrients and water more efficiently, have greater resistance to insect pests and diseases, and are more tolerant to drought, flood, frost and higher tempera- tures. SCPI varieties will need to be adapted to less favoured areas and production systems, produce food with higher nutritional value and desirable organoleptic properties, and help improve the provision of ecosystem services. Those new crops and varieties will be deployed in increasingly diverse production systems where associated agricultural biodiver- sity – such as livestock, pollinators, predators of pests, soil organisms and nitrogen fixing trees – is also important. Varieties suitable for SCPI will need to be adapted to changing production practices and ement farming systems (see Chapter 2) and to integrated pest manag (see Chapter 6). SCPI will be undertaken in combination with adaptation to climate change, which is expected to lead to alterations in timing, frequency and amounts of rainfall, with serious droughts in some areas and floods in others. Increased occurrence of extreme weather events is probable, along with soil erosion, land degradation and loss of biodiversity. Many of the characteristics required for adaptation to climate change are similar to those needed for SCPI. Increased genetic diversity will improve adaptability, while greater resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses will improve cropping system resilience. Achieving SCPI means developing not only a new range of varieties, but also an increasingly diverse portfolio of varieties of an extended range of crops, many of which currently receive little attention from public or private plant breeders. Farmers will also need the means and opportunity to deploy these materials in their different produc- tion systems. That is why the management of plant genetic resources (PGR), development of crops and varieties, and the delivery of ap- propriate, high quality seeds and planting materials to farmers are fundamental contributions to SCPI.

54 Save and Grow 42 Principles, concepts and constraints he system that will provide high-yielding and adapted varieties T PGR conservation and distribution , to farmers has three parts: . The stronger seed production and delivery and variety development the links among these different parts, the better the whole system will function. Conserved and improved materials will need to be available for variety development, and new varieties will have to be generated at a pace that meets changing demands and requirements. Timely delivery to farmers of suitably adapted materials, of the right quality and quantity, at an acceptable cost, is essential. To work well, the system needs an appropriate institutional framework, as well as policies and practices that support its component parts and the links between them. and on-farm – ex situ The improved conservation of PGR – in situ , and the enhanced delivery of germplasm to different users depend on 1 . Today coordinated efforts at international, national and local levels genebanks around the world conserve some 7.4 million accessions. These are complemented by the in situ conservation of traditional varieties and crop wild relatives by national programmes and farm- ers, and by the materials maintained in public and private sector 2 . Strong national conservation programmes, breeding programmes combined with the improved availability and increased distribution of a wider range of inter- and intra-specific diversity, will be critical to successful implementation of SCPI. Technical, policy and institutional issues influence the effective- ness of programmes for crop improvement. A wide range of diverse materials is needed for the pre-breeding of varieties. Molecular genet- ics and other biotechnologies are now widely used by both national and private sector breeding programmes and can make an essential 3 . The policy and contribution to meeting SCPI breeding objectives regulatory dimension needs to include not only variety release, but also provisions for intellectual property protection, seed laws and the use of restriction technologies. The benefits of PGR conservation and plant breeding will not be realized unless quality seeds of improved varieties reach farmers through an effective seed multiplication and delivery system. Variety testing of promising materials from breeding programmes needs to be followed by the prompt release of the best varieties for early

55 43 Crops and Varieties Chapter 4: generation seed multiplication. Certified seed production, along with quality assurance provided by the national seed service, are essential next steps before seed is sold to farmers. Both the public and private sectors should support this value chain and, where possible, local seed enterprises should produce certified seed and market it to farmers. Smallholder farmers around the world still rely heavily on farmer- saved seed and have little access to commercial seed systems. In some countries, well over 70 percent of seed, even of major crops, is managed within the farmer seed system. Both formal and saved seed systems will be essential in the distribution of SCPI-adapted materials. The various practices and procedures adopted to support SCPI will need to take account of how farmer seed systems operate, and strengthen them in order to increase the supply of new materials. Ensuring that the different parts of the PGR and seed supply system are able to meet the challenges of SCPI requires an effective policy and regulatory framework, appropriate institutions, a con- tinuing programme of capacity development and, above all, farmer participation. A strong programme of research, aimed at providing information, new techniques and materials, is also important. Ide- ally, the programme will reflect farmers’ knowledge and experience, strengthen the linkages between farmers and research workers from different areas, and serve dynamic and changing needs.

56 44 Save and Grow Approaches that save and grow by more than 120 countries of the Improving the conservation  International Treaty on Plant Genetic and use of plant genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture resources 5 , and the strategic goals of the (ITPGRFA) Plant genetic resources – the inter- 6 . Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and intra-specific diversity of crops, In mobilizing plant genetic resources varieties and related wild species – are for sustainable intensification, the central to agricultural development and international dimension will play a improvements in both the quantity and fundamental role. The international quality of food and other agricultural framework for conservation and products. Genes from traditional varieties sustainable use of PGR has been greatly and crop wild relatives were at the heart strengthened by the International Treaty, of the Green Revolution, providing the the Global Crop Diversity Trust and the semi-dwarfing characters of modern programme of work on agricultural wheat and rice varieties, as well as crop biodiversity of the CBD. A global system resistance to major insect pests and that can provide support for SCPI is diseases. emerging. Since much of the diversity The success of SCPI will depend on that will be needed may be conserved in the use of PGR in new and better ways. other countries, or in the international However, the crucial importance of genebanks of the CGIAR, national genes from local varieties and crop wild participation in international programmes relatives in development of new varieties will be indispensable. is matched by rising concern over the loss Developing countries need to of diversity worldwide, and the need for strengthen their national PGR its effective conservation. International programmes by enacting legislation to recognition of PGR is reflected in the implement fully the provisions of the conclusions of the World Summit on Food ITPGRFA. Guidelines on implementation 4 , held in 2009, the ratification Security 7 and the Treaty have been prepared Secretariat, Bioversity International and Number of accessions collected each year FAO are working on implementation since 1960 and stored in major genebanks issues in collaboration with some 30000 15 countries. Implementing the revised Global Plan of Action on Plant Genetic 25000 Resources for Food and Agriculture and Article 9 of the ITPGRFA on Farmers’ Rights 20000 will make an important contribution to 15000 the creation of the national operating 10000 The Second Report on the State FAO. 2010. 5000 of the World’s Plant Genetic Resources for Food Rome. and Agriculture. 0

57 Chapter 4: Crops and Varieties 45 framework for implementing sustainable intensification. In order to adopt sustainable intensification strategies, countries will need to know the extent and distribution of the diversity of crop species and their wild relatives. Technologies for mapping diversity and locating diversity threatened by climate change have 8 . A major project supported improved by the Global Environment Facility in Armenia, Bolivia, Madagascar, Sri Lanka and Uzbekistan has established and tested ways of improving the conservation and use of crop wild relatives. The project developed and implemented area and species conservation management plans, identified climate change management banana actions to conserve useful diversity, and Moving genetic material will also require initiated plant breeding programmes improvements in the phytosanitary using new materials identified thanks to 9 capacity and practices, as well as the . the conservation and prioritization work distribution capacities, of genebanks. Intensification will require an increased The comprehensive characterization flow into breeding programmes of and evaluation of genebank collections germplasm and promising varieties. The at national and local levels, with farmers multilateral system of access and benefit participating in the evaluation of sharing under the ITPGRFA provides potentially useful material, will make a the necessary international framework, key contribution to improving the use of although – given the increased PGR. Effective use also requires strong importance of diversity to SCPI research and pre-breeding programmes. – it may need to be extended The Global Initiative on Plant Breeding is to a greater number of crops preparing a manual on pre-breeding to than those currently covered help develop that capacity. Ultimately, in Annex 1 of the Treaty. On however, countries and the private the technical side, a number breeding sector will need to support the of procedures are available strengthening of national agricultural to identify useful materials research capacity, with the introduction in large collections, such as of university courses on conservation the Focused Identification and plant breeding for sustainable of Germplasm Strategy 10 intensification. . now under development wild wheat

58 46 Save and Grow It is unlikely that traditional public or Developing improved  private breeding programmes will be and adapted varieties able to provide all the new plant material Sustainable intensification requires crop needed or produce the most appropriate varieties that are suited to different varieties, especially of minor crops which agronomic practices, to farmers’ needs in command limited resources. Participatory locally diverse agro-ecosystems and to the plant breeding can help fill this gap. effects of climate change. Important traits For example, the International Centre will include greater tolerance to heat, for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas drought and frost, increased input-use (ICARDA), together with the Syrian Arab efficiency, and enhanced pest and disease Republic and other Middle East and resistance. It will involve the development North African countries, has undertaken of a larger number of varieties drawn from a programme for participatory breeding a greater diversity of breeding material. of barley which maintains high levels of Because new varieties take many years diversity and produces improved material to produce, breeding programmes need capable of good yields in conditions of to be stable, competently staffed and very limited rainfall (less than 300 mm adequately funded. Both the public sector per year). Farmers participate in the and private breeding companies will play selection of parent materials and in an important part in developing those on-farm evaluations. In Syria, the varieties, with the public sector often procedure has produced significant focusing on major staple crops, while barley yield improvements and increased the private sector would be concerned the resistance of the barley varieties to more with cash crops. The more open and 11 . drought stress vigorous the system, the more likely it is Policies and regulations are needed to that the required new materials will be support the production of new varieties generated. and ensure adequate returns to both An important step forward will be public and private sector plant breeding. a significant increase in public support However, they may need to be more open to pre-breeding and and flexible than current patent-based breeding research. SCPI procedures or arrangements under the requires new materials, a International Union for the Protection redefinition of breeding of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV). The objectives and practices, uniformity and stability properties of and the adoption of varieties adapted to SCPI may be different population breeding from those currently envisaged under approaches. Properties UPOV, and Farmers’ Rights, as identified such as production in the ITPGRFA, need to be recognized. resilience and stability Most of all, policies and regulations must will need to be inherent, support the rapid release of SCPI adapted and not dependent on materials; in many countries far too much external inputs. barley

59 47 Crops and Varieties Chapter 4: time is spent on the approval stage for action plan should identify gaps and new varieties. weaknesses in the sector and the main The institutional framework that measures that are needed to resolve them. supports variety development and An improved framework may also release is weak in a number of countries. be needed for seed production and University and other training programmes movement. Because regulations and will need to be adjusted to furnish a legislation should favour the rapid greater number of plant breeders and deployment of new planting material, breeding researchers trained in using crop and the transfer of new varieties from improvement practices for SCPI. Farmers one area to another, harmonization of should be involved more fully both in the legislation among countries is important. identification of breeding objectives and For example, 12 member countries of the in the selection process. Extension services Economic Community of West African will need to be strengthened in order to States have adopted harmonized seed respond to farmers’ expressed needs and laws. The maintenance and use of a larger to provide sound practical guidance on the number of varieties may strain seed cultivation of new varieties. quality management systems; therefore, the development of a quality-declared  Improving seed production seed system will help ensure that, in the and distribution process of adapting seed practices to sustainable intensification, quality does A key issue when planning SCPI not suffer. programmes is to determine the status of One likely consequence of sustainable the national seed system and its capacity beans intensification will be the increased to improve the provision of high quality importance of local seed producers and seed of adapted varieties to farmers. An local markets in supplying farmers. The initial step should be the development, in role of markets in maintaining diversity consultation with all key stakeholders, of 12 . Markets can is increasingly recognized an appropriate seed policy and regulations be supported through initiatives such for variety release. as local diversity fairs, local seed banks The policy should provide a framework and community biodiversity registers, for better coordination of the public and which encourage the maintenance and private sectors, as well as an action plan distribution of local materials and favour for development of a seed industry that 8 . improvements in their quality is capable of meeting farmers’ needs for high quality seed. In many developing countries, the policy will also need to recognize farmer-saved seed as a major source of propagation material. Since local seed enterprises will play an important role in SCPI, creating an enabling environment for them is essential. The

60 Save and Grow 48 The way forward ctions in the technical, policy and institutional arenas can help A ensure that plant genetic resources and seed delivery systems function effectively to support sustainable crop production intensifi- cation. Although they will involve diverse institutions and take place at various scales, the required actions will have their greatest impact if they are coordinated. Recommended measures include: Strengthening linkages between the conservation of PGR and the Ì use of diversity in plant breeding , particularly through improved characterization and evaluation of traits relevant to SCPI in a wider range of crops, increased support for pre-breeding and population improvement, and much closer collaboration among institutions concerned with conservation and breeding. Increasing the participation of farmers in conservation, crop im- Ì in order to support work on a wider provement and seed supply diversity of materials, to ensure that new varieties are appropriate to farmer practices and experiences, and to strengthen on-farm conservation of PGR and farmer seed supply systems. Improving policies and legislation for variety development and Ì , including national implementation of the release, and seed supply provisions of the ITPGRFA, enactment of f lexible variety release legislation, and the development or revision of seed policies and seed legislation. by creating a new generation of skilled Strengthening capacity Ì practitioners to support enhanced breeding, work with farmers and explore the ways in which crops and varieties contribute to successful intensification. in developing Revitalizing the public sector and expanding its role Ì new crop varieties, by creating an enabling environment for seed sector development and ensuring that farmers have the knowledge needed to deploy new materials. Supporting the emergence of local, private sector seed enterprises Ì through an integrated approach involving producer organizations, linkages to markets and value addition. Coordinating linkages with other essential components of SCPI , Ì such as appropriate agronomic practices, soil and water manage- ment, integrated pest management, credit and marketing.

61 49 Crops and Varieties Chapter 4: Many of those actions are already being taken in various countries and by various institutions. The challenge is to share experiences, build on the best practices that have been identified and tested, and focus on ways to adapt them to meet the specific objectives and prac- tices of SCPI. That will ensure that the diversity required for sustain- able intensification, and already available in genebanks and farmers’ fields, is mobilized efficiently, effectively and in a timely manner.


63 Chapter 5 Water management Sustainable intensification requires smarter, precision technologies for irrigation, and farming practices that use ecosystem approaches to conserve water


65 53 Water Management Chapter 5: rops are grown under a range of water management regimes, from simple soil tillage aimed at increasing the infiltra- tion of rainfall, to sophisticated irrigation technologies C and management. Of the estimated 1.4 billion ha of crop land worldwide, around 80 percent is rainfed and accounts for about 1 . Under rainfed conditions, 60 percent of global agricultural output water management attempts to control the amount of water available to a crop through the opportunistic deviation of the rainwater path- way towards enhanced moisture storage in the root zone. However, the timing of the water application is still dictated by rainfall patterns, not by the farmer. Some 20 percent of the world’s cropped area is irrigated, and 1 . Higher produces around 40 percent of total agricultural output cropping intensities and higher average yields account for this level of productivity. By controlling both the amount and timing of water applied to crops, irrigation facilitates the concentration of inputs to boost land productivity. Farmers apply water to crops to stabilize and raise yields and to increase the number of crops grown per year. Globally, irrigated yields are two to three times greater than rainfed yields. Thus, a reliable and flexible supply of water is vital for high value, high-input cropping systems. However, the economic risk is also much greater than under lower input rainfed cropping. Irrigation can also produce negative consequences for the environment, includ- ing soil salinization and nitrate contamination of aquifers. Growing pressure from competing demands for water, along with environmental imperatives, mean that agriculture must obtain “more crops from fewer drops” and with less environmental impact. That is a significant challenge, and implies that water management for sustainable crop production intensification will need to anticipate smarter, precision agriculture. It will also require water management in agriculture to become much more adept at accounting for its water use in economic, social and environmental terms. Prospects for sustainable intensification vary considerably across different production systems, with different external drivers of demand. In general, however, the sustainability of intensified crop production, whether rainfed or irrigated, will depend on the adoption of ecosystem approaches such as conservation agriculture, along with other key practices, including use of high-yielding varieties and good quality seeds, and integrated pest management.

66 Save and Grow 54 Rainfed cropping systems any crop varieties grown in rainfed systems are adapted to M exploit moisture stored in the root zone. Rainfed systems can be further improved by, for example, using deep-rooting crops in rota- tion, adapting crops to develop a deeper rooting habit, increasing soil water storage capacity, improving water infiltration and minimizing evaporation through organic mulching. Capture of runoff from adja- cent lands can also lengthen the duration of soil moisture availability. Improving the productivity of rainfed agriculture depends largely on improving husbandry across all aspects of crop management. Fac- tors such as pests and limited availability of soil nutrients can limit 2, 3 . The principles of reduced per se yield more than water availability tillage, organic mulching and use of natural and managed biodiver- sity (described in Chapter 2, Farming systems ) are fundamental to improved husbandry. under rainfed conditions will The scope for implementing SCPI depend, therefore, on the use of ecosystem-based approaches that maximize moisture storage in the root zone. While these approaches can facilitate intensification, the system is still subject to the vagaries of rainfall. Climate change will increase the risks to crop production. Nowhere is the challenge of developing effective strategies for climate 4 . change adaptation more pressing than in rainfed agriculture Other measures are needed, therefore, to allay farmers’ risk aver- sion. They include better seasonal and annual forecasting of rainfall and water availability and flood management, both to mitigate climate change and to improve the resilience of production systems. More elaborate water management interventions are possible to reduce the production risk, but not necessarily to further intensify rainfed production. For instance, there is scope to transition some rainfed cropping systems to low-input supplementary irrigation sys- 5 , tems, in order to bridge short dry spells during critical growth stages but these are still reliant upon the timing and intensity of rainfall. On-farm runoff management, including the use of water retaining bunds in cultivated areas, has been applied successfully in transi- tional climates, including the Mediterranean and parts of the Sahel, to extend soil moisture availability after each rain event. Off-farm runoff management, including the concentration of overland flow into shallow groundwater or farmer-managed storage, can allow for

67 55 Water Management Chapter 5: limited supplementary irrigation. However, when expanded over large areas, these interventions impact downstream users and overall river basin water budgets. Extending the positive environmental and soil moisture conser- vation benefits of ecosystem approaches will often depend upon the level of farm mechanization, which is needed to take advantage of rainfall events. Simpler technologies, including opportunistic runoff farming, will remain inherently risky, particularly under more erratic rainfall regimes. They will also remain labour intensive. Policymakers will need to assess accurately the relative contribu- tions of rainfed and irrigated production at national level. If rainfed pro duction can be stabilized by enhanced soil moisture storage, the physical and socio-economic circumstances under which this can occur need to be well identified and defined. The respective merits of low-intensity investments in SCPI across extensive rainfed systems and high intensity localized investments in full irrigation need careful socio-economic appraisal against development objectives. With regard to institutions, there is a need for re-organization and reinforcement of advisory services to farmers dependent on rainfed agriculture, and renewed efforts to promote crop insurance for small-scale producers. A sharper analysis of rainfall patterns and soil moisture deficits will be needed to stabilize production from existing rainfed systems under climate change impacts. Irrigated cropping systems he total area equipped for irrigation worldwide is now in excess of 6 , and the actual area harvested is estimated to be T 300 million ha larger due to double and triple cropping. Most irrigation development has taken place in Asia, where rice production is practised on about 80 million ha, with yields averaging 5 tonnes per ha (compared to 2.3 tonnes per ha from the 54 million ha of rainfed lowland rice). In contrast, irrigated agriculture in Africa is practised on just 4 percent of cropped land, owing mainly to the lack of financial investment. Irrigation is a commonly used platform for intensification because it offers a point at which to concentrate inputs. Making this sustain- intensification, however, depends on the location of water with- able drawal and the adoption of ecosystem based approaches – such as

68 Save and Grow 56 soil conservation, use of improved varieties and integrated pest man- agement – that are the basis of SCPI. The uniformity of distribution and the application efficiency of irrigation vary with the technology used to deliver water, the soil type and slope (most importantly its infiltration characteristic), and the quality of management. by border strip, basin or furrow is often less ef- Surface irrigation ficient and less uniform than overhead irrigation (e.g. sprinkler, drip, Micro irrigation has been seen as a technological fix for the drip tape). poor performance of field irrigation, and as a means of saving water. It is being adopted increasingly by commercial horticulturalists in both developed and developing countries, despite high capital costs. and variants such as regulated deficit irrigation Deficit irrigation (RDI) are gaining hold in the commercial production of fruit trees and some field crops that respond positively to controlled water stress at critical growth stages. RDI is often practised in conjunction with micro-irrigation and “fertigation”, in which fertilizers are applied directly to the region where most of the plant’s roots develop. The practice has been adapted to simpler furrow irrigation in China. The benefits, in terms of reduced water inputs, are apparent but they will only be realized if the supply of water is highly reliable. that offers farmers reliable Knowledge-based precision irrigation and flexible water application will be a major platform for SCPI. Auto- mated systems have been tested using both solid set sprinklers and micro-irrigation, which involve using soil moisture sensing and crop canopy temperature to define the irrigation depths to be applied in different parts of the field. Precision irrigation and precision fertilizer application through irrigation water are both future possibilities for field crops and horticulture, but there are potential pitfalls. Recent computer simulations indicate that, in horticulture, salt management is a critical factor in sustainability. The economics of irrigated agriculture are significant. The use of sprinkler and micro-irrigation technologies, as well as the automation of surface irrigation layouts, involve long term capital expenditure and operational budgets. Rain guns provide one of the cheapest capital options for large area overhead irrigation coverage, but tend to incur high operating costs. Other overhead irrigation systems have high capital costs and, without the support of production subsidies, are unsuited to smallholder cropping systems.

69 57 Water Management Chapter 5: The service delivery of many public irrigation systems is less than optimal, owing to deficiencies in design, maintenance and manage- ment. There is considerable scope for modernizing systems and their management, through both institutional reform and the separation of irrigation service provision from broader oversight and the regula- tion of water resources. Drainage is an essential, but often overlooked, complement to ir- rigation, especially where water tables are high and soil salinity is a constraint. Investment will be required in drainage to enhance the productivity and sustainability of irrigation systems and to ensure good management of farm inputs. However, enhanced drainage in- creases the risks of pollutants being exported, causing degradation in waterways and connected aquatic ecosystems. Protected cropping, mostly in shade houses, is enjoying increasing popularity in many countries, including China and India, mainly for fruit, vegetable and flower production. In the long term, highly intensive closed cycle production systems, using conventional irriga- tion or hydroponic and aeroponic cultures, will become progressively more common, especially in peri-urban areas with strong markets and increasing water scarcity. Using water for irrigation reduces instream flows, alters their timing, and creates conditions for shocks, such as toxic algal blooms. Secondary impacts include salinization and nutrient and pesticide pollution of water courses and water bodies. There are other envi- ronmental trade-offs from irrigated systems; rice paddies sequester higher levels of organic matter than dry land soils, and contribute less O). nitrate runoff and generate lower emissions of nitrous oxide (N 2 Offset against this are relatively large emissions of methane (from 3 to 10 percent of global emissions) and ammonia. Crops normally use less than 50 percent of the irrigation water they receive, and irrigation systems that lie within a fully or over-allocated river basin have low efficiency. In accounting terms, it is necessary to distinguish how much water is depleted, both beneficially and unproductively. Beneficial depletion by crops – evapotranspiration – is the intent of irrigation: ideally, transpiration would account for all depletion, with zero evaporation from soil and water surfaces. There is some potential to improve water productivity by reducing non-productive evaporative losses. Basin level improvements in water productivity focus on minimiz- 7 . However, the downstream impacts of ing non-beneficial depletion

70 Save and Grow 58 increased water depletion for agriculture are not neutral: there is evidence of big reductions in annual runoff from “improved” upper catchments that have adopted extensive water harvesting in parts 8 . of peninsular India Water management is a key factor in minimizing nitrogen losses and export from farms. In freely drained soils, nitrification is partially O, whereas in saturated interrupted, resulting in the emission of N 2 (anoxic) conditions, ammonium compounds and urea are partially converted to ammonia, typically in rice cultivation. Atmospheric O losses from urea can occur, therefore, as both ammonia and N 2 are released during wetting and drying cycles in irrigation. N is required in nitrate form for uptake at the root, but can easily move elsewhere in solution. A number of protected and slow release fertil- izer compounds are under development for different situations (see Chapter 3, Soil health ). The dynamics of phosphate mobilization and movement in drains and waterways are complex. Phosphate export from agriculture can occur in irrigated systems if erosive flow rates are used in furrow ir- rigation, or if sodic soils disperse. Phosphate, and to a lesser extent nitrate, can be trapped by buffer strips located at the ends of fields and along rivers, which prevents them from reaching waterways. Hence, a combination of good irrigation management, recycling of tailwater and the incorporation of phosphate in the soil can reduce phosphate export from irrigated lands to close to zero. The sustainability of intensified irrigated agriculture depends on minimizing off-farm externalities, such as salinization and export of pollutants, and the maintenance of soil health and growing conditions. That should be the primary focus of farm level practice, technology and decision-making, and reinforces the need for depletion water accounting and wiser water allocation at basin and catchment scales, and a better understanding of the hydrological interactions between different production systems.

71 Chapter 5: Water Management 59 Technologies that save and grow increase in gross production value from Rainwater harvesting  9 the fourth year of operation, improved in Africa’s Sahel soil moisture and fertility, and reduced A wide variety of traditional and downstream flooding. innovative rainwater harvesting systems is found in Africa’s Sahel zone. In semi-arid  Deficit irrigation for high yield areas of Niger, small-scale farmers use 10 and maximum net profits planting pits to harvest rainwater and The highest crop productivity is achieved rehabilitate degraded land for cultivation using high-yielding varieties with of millet and sorghum. The optimal water supply, soil fertility and technology improves infiltration crop protection. However, crops can also and increases nutrient produce well with limited water supply. availability on sandy and loamy In deficit irrigation, water supply is less soils, leading to significant than the crop’s full requirements, and increases in yields, improved soil mild stress is allowed during growth cover and reduced downstream stages that are less sensitive to moisture flooding. Planting pits are hand- deficiency. The expectation is that any dug holes 20-30 cm in diameter yield reduction will be limited, and and 20-25 cm deep, spaced additional benefits are gained by diverting about 1 m apart. Excavated soil the saved water to irrigate other crops. is shaped into a small ridge to pearl millet However, use of deficit irrigation requires maximize capture of rainfall and a clear understanding of soil-water and run-off. When available, manure salt budgeting, as well as an intimate is added to each pit every second year. knowledge of crop behaviour, since Seeds are sown directly into the pits at crop response to water stress varies the start of the rainy season, and silt and considerably. sand are removed annually. Normally, A six-year study of winter wheat the highest crop production is during the production on the North China Plain second year after manure application. showed water savings of 25 percent In eastern Ethiopia, farmers capture or more through application of deficit floodwater and runoff from ephemeral irrigation at various growth stages. In rivers, roads and hillsides using temporary normal years, two irrigations (instead of stone and earth embankments. Captured the usual four) of 60 mm were enough water is distributed through a system of to achieve acceptably high yields and hand-dug canals up to 2 000 m long to maximize net profits. In Punjab, Pakistan, fields of high value vegetables and fruit a study of the long-term impacts of crops. Benefits include a 400 percent

72 60 Save and Grow deficit irrigation on wheat is determined by the onset of rains, supplemental irrigation allows the date and cotton reported to be chosen precisely, which can improve yield reductions of productivity significantly. For example, up to 15 percent in Mediterranean countries, a wheat crop when irrigation was sown in November has consistently higher applied to satisfy only yield and shows better response to water 60 percent of total and nitrogen fertilizer than a crop sown in crop evapotranspiration. January. The study highlighted The average water productivity of rain the importance of in dry areas of North Africa and West maintaining leaching cotton Asia ranges from about 0.35 to 1 kg of practices in order to wheat grain for every cubic metre of avoid the long-term risk water. ICARDA has found that, applied as of soil salinization. In studies carried out in supplemental irrigation and along with India on irrigated groundnuts, production good management practices, the same and water productivity were increased by amount of water can produce 2.5 kg imposing transient soil moisture-deficit of grain. The improvement is mainly stress during the vegetative phase, 20 to attributed to the effectiveness of a small 45 days after sowing. Water stress applied amount of water in alleviating severe during the vegetative growth phase may moisture stress. have had a favourable effect on root In the Syrian Arab Republic, SI growth, contributing to more effective helped boost the average grain yield water use from deeper soil horizons. tonnes to 3 tonnes per from 1.2 Higher water savings are possible in fruit hectare. In Morocco, applying 50 mm trees, compared to herbaceous crops. In of supplemental irrigation increased Australia, regulated deficit irrigation of average yields of early planted wheat fruit trees increased water productivity by approximately 60 percent, with a gain in fruit quality and no loss in yield. Productivity of water in wheat production  Supplemental irrigation 3 ) (kg of grain/m 11, 12 on rainfed dryland 2.5 In dry areas, farmers dependent on rainfall 2.0 for cereal production can increase yields using supplemental irrigation (SI), which 1.5 entails harvesting rainwater run-off, storing it in ponds, tanks or small dams, 1.0 and applying it during critical crop growth stages. One of the main benefits of SI is 0.5 that it permits earlier planting – while the planting date in rainfed agriculture 0 Supplemental Full Rainfed irrigation irrigation production of rainfed production AARINENA water use efficiency ICARDA. 2006. network - Proceedings of the expert consultation meeting, 26-27 November 2006. Aleppo, Syria.

73 Chapter 5: Water Management 61 from 4.6 tonnes to 5.8 tonnes, with a surface irrigation is now limited 50 percent increase in water productivity. essentially to winter wheat and maize crops. As a result, In Iran, a single SI application increased many farmers have diversified barley yields from 2.2 to 3.4 t/ha. production away from staple When integrated with improved crops toward intensive cash varieties and good soil and nutrition crop production using mainly management, supplemental irrigation groundwater, and the original can be optimized by deliberately allowing ha has been command area of 86 000 crops to sustain a degree of water deficit. percent. reduced by about 50 In northern Syria, farmers applied half the Within this smaller area, many more amount of full SI water requirements to functions are serviced by the district’s their wheat fields, which allowed them water allocations from the Yellow River: to double the cropped area, maximize productive services, such as crop irrigation, productivity per unit of water and increase aquaculture, hydropower generation, total production by one third. timber plantations and industrial water 13  Multiple uses of water systems supply, and amenities, including flood protection, groundwater recharge and In addition to water for crop production, forest parkland. In this way, intensification irrigation systems and infrastructure of water use has been accompanied by can provide multiple services, including conservation of environmental services. supplying water for domestic use, animal production and electricity generation, and channels for transport. Analysis by FAO of Use of irrigation water, Fenhe district, China 20 irrigation schemes revealed that non- (percent) crop water uses and multiple functions of irrigation schemes are more the norm than the exception. For example, in the Fenhe irrigation district of Shaanxi Province, China, values derived from conventional irrigation were found to be lower than those from related services, such as aquaculture, timber plantations and flood protection. The district’s infrastructure, which consists Flood 1% protection of two reservoirs, three diversion dams 3% Parks, and five main canals, was built in 1950. recreation In recent years, Shanxi province has 1% Small industry suffered increasing drought, flooding Large 11% and water pollution, and competition for industry 47% Crop Groundwater 37% water from industrial and domestic users Mapping systems and service FAO. 2010. irrigation recharge for multiple uses in Fenhe irrigation is growing. Owing to water shortages, district, Shanxi Province, China. Rome.

74 Save and Grow 62 The way forward ustainable agriculture on irrigated land – and also across the range S of rainfed and improved rainfed production systems – involves trade-offs in land use, water sharing in the broadest sense, and the maintenance of supporting ecosystem services. These trade-offs are becoming more complex and have significant social, economic and political importance. The overall governance of land and water allocations will strongly influence the scale of longer term investment in irrigated SCPI, particularly given the higher capital and input costs associated with irrigated production. Competing demands for water from other eco- nomic sectors and from environmental services and amenities will continue to grow. Water management in agriculture will need to cope with less water per hectare of land and will also have to internalize the cost of pollution from agricultural land. With regard to policy, the nature of agriculture is changing in many countries, as the pace of rural outmigration and urbanization accelerates. Policy incentives that focus on the most pressing envi- ronmental externalities, while leveraging individual farmer’s profit motives, have a greater chance of success. For example, where agrochemical pollution of rivers and aquatic ecosystems has reached crisis point, a ban on dangerous chemicals could be accompanied by measures to raise fertilizer prices, provide farmers with objective advice on dosage rates, and remove perverse incentives to apply fertilizer excessively. Follow-up measures might promote management at “required or recommended” levels, and seek alternative approaches to higher productivity with more modest use of external inputs. In that case, more public investment would be needed to improve the monitoring of ecosystem conditions. In the future, fertigation technology (including use of liquid fertilizers), deficit irrigation and wastewater-reuse will be better in- tegrated within irrigation systems. While the introduction of a new technology into irrigated cropping systems has high entry costs and requires institutional arrangements for operation and maintenance, the use of precision irrigation is now global. Farmers in developing countries are already adopting low-head drip kits for niche markets, such as horticulture. In addition, the availability of cheap, plastic moulded products and plastic sheeting for plasticulture is likely to expand. However, the broad-scale adoption of alternatives, such as

75 63 Water Management Chapter 5: solar technologies, or the avoidance of polluting technologies, will need the support of regulatory measures and effective policing of compliance. Shortcomings in governance of some irrigation investments have led to financial irregularities in capital funding, rent-seeking in management and operation, and poor co-ordination among agencies responsible for providing irrigation services to the farmer. Innova- tive approaches are required to create institutional frameworks that promote agricultural and water development, and at the same time safeguard the environment. There remains considerable potential to harness and learn from local initiatives in institutional development, to manage the externalities of intensification, and to reduce or avoid transaction costs. Solutions are more likely to be knowledge-rich than technology-intensive.


77 Chapter 6 Plant protection Pesticides kill pests, but also pests’ natural enemies, and their overuse can harm farmers, consumers and the environment. The first line of defence is a healthy agro-ecosystem


79 67 Plant Protection Chapter 6: lant pests are often regarded as an external, introduced fac- tor in crop production. That is a misperception, as in most cases pest species occur naturally within the agro-ecosystem. P Pests and accompanying species – such as predators, parasites, pollinators, competitors and decomposers – are components of crop- associated agro-biodiversity that perform a wide range of ecosystem functions. Pest upsurges or outbreaks usually occur following the breakdown of natural processes of pest regulation. Because intensification of agricultural production will lead to an increase in the supply of food available to crop pests, pest manage- ment strategies must be an integral part of SCPI. However, they will also need to respond to concerns about the risks posed by pesticides to health and the environment. It is important, therefore, that poten- mplementation of SCPI are tial pest problems associated with the i addressed through an ecosystem approach. Although populations of potential pests are present in every crop field, every day, regular practices, such as crop monitoring and spot control measures, usually keep them in check. In fact, the total eradi- cation of an insect pest would reduce the food supply of the pest’s natural enemies, undermining a key element in system resilience. The aim, therefore, should be to manage insect pest populations to the point where natural predation operates in a balanced way and crop losses to pests are kept to an acceptable minimum. When that approach does not seem sufficient, farmers often respond by seeking additional protection for their crops against perceived threats. The pest management decisions taken by each farmer are based on his or her individual objectives and experiences. While some may apply labour-intensive control measures, the ma- jority turn to pesticides. In 2010, worldwide sales of pesticides were expected to exceed US$40 billion. Herbicides represent the largest market segment, while the share of insecticides has shrunk and that 1 . of fungicides has grown over the past ten years As a control tactic, over-reliance on pesticides impairs the natural crop ecosystem balance. It disrupts parasitoid and predator popula- tions, thereby causing outbreaks of secondary pests. It also contrib- utes to a vicious cycle of resistance in pests, which leads to further investment in pesticide development but little change in crop losses to pests, which are estimated today at 30 to 40 percent, similar to 2 . As a result, induced pest outbreaks, caused by those of 50 years ago 3 . inappropriate pesticide use, have increased

80 Save and Grow 68 Excessive use of pesticide also exposes farmers to serious health risks and has negative consequences for the environment, and some- times for crop yields. Often less than one percent of pesticides applied actually reaches a target pest organism; the rest contaminates the 4 . air, soil and water Consumers have grown increasingly concerned about pesticide residues in food. Rapid urbanization has resulted in the expansion of urban and peri-urban horticulture, where pesticide use is more evident and its overuse even less acceptable to the public. The serious consequences of pesticide-related occupational exposure have been amply documented among farming communities, heightening social sensitivity towards agricultural workers’ rights and welfare. Public concerns are being translated into more rigorous standards both domestically and in international trade. Major retailers and supermarket chains have endorsed stricter worker welfare, food safety, traceability and environmental requirements. However, weak regula- pesticides continue to undermine efforts to tion and management of broaden and sustain ecologically-based pest management strategies. That is because pesticides are aggressively marketed and, therefore, often seen as the cheapest and quickest option for pest control. Farmers would benefit from a better understanding of the func- tioning and dynamics of ecosystems, and the role of pests as an inte- gral part of agro-biodiversity. Policymakers, who are often targets of complex information regarding crop pests, would also benefit from a better understanding of the real impact of pests and diseases in cropping ecosystems. Integrated pest management ver the past 50 years, integrated pest management (IPM) has O become and remains the world’s leading holistic strategy for plant protection. From its first appearance in the 1960s, IPM has been based on ecology, the concept of ecosystems and the goal of 5-7 . sustaining ecosystem functions IPM is founded on the idea that the first and most fundamental line of defence against pests and diseases in agriculture is a healthy agro-ecosystem, in which the biological processes that underpin pro-

81 69 Plant Protection Chapter 6: duction are protected, encouraged and enhanced. Enhancing those processes can increase yields and sustainability, while reducing input costs. In intensified systems, environmental factors of production affect the prospects for the effective management of pests: Soil management that applies an ecosystem approach, such as Ì mulching, can provide refuges for natural enemies of pests. Build- ing soil organic matter provides alternate food sources for general- ist natural enemies and antagonists of plant disease and increases ropping cycle. Addressing pest-regulating populations early in the c particular soil problems, such as salt water incursion, can render crops less susceptible to pests such as the rice stem borer. can increase the susceptibility of crops to disease. Water stress Ì Some pests, notably weeds in rice, can be controlled by better management of water in the production system. is essential for managing plant diseases Crop varietal resistance Ì and many insect pests. Vulnerability can arise if the genetic base of host plant resistance is too narrow. Timing and spatial arrangement of crops influence the dynamics of Ì pest and natural enemy populations, as well as levels of pollination services for pollinator-dependent horticultural crops. As with other beneficial insects, reducing pesticide applications and increasing diversity within farms can increase the level of pollination service. , IPM has achieved some notable As an ecosystem-based strategy successes in world agriculture. Today, large-scale government IPM programmes are operational in more than 60 countries, including Brazil, China, India and most developed countries. There is general scientific consensus – underscored by the recent International As- 8 sessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development – that IPM works and provides the basis for protecting SCPI. The fol- lowing are general principles for using integrated pest management in the design of programmes for sustainable intensification. to anticipate potential pest problems Use an ecosystem approach Ì associated with intensified crop production. The production sys- tem should use, for example, a diverse range of pest-resistant crop varieties, crop rotations, intercropping, optimized planting time and weed management. To reduce losses, control strategies should take advantage of beneficial species of pest predators, parasites and competitors, along with biopesticides and selective, low risk

82 Save and Grow 70 synthetic pesticides. Investment will be needed in strengthening farmers’ knowledge and skills. for when credible evidence of a Undertake contingency planning Ì significant pest threat emerges. That will require investment in seed systems to support deployment of resistant varieties, and crop-free periods to prevent the carryover of pest populations to the following season. Selective pesticides with adequate regulatory supervision will need to be identified, and specific communication campaigns prepared. Analyse the nature of the cause of pest outbreaks when problems Ì occur, and develop strategies accordingly. Problems may be caused by a combination of factors. Where the origin lies in intensification practices – for example, inappropriate plant density or ploughing that disperses weed seeds – the practices will need to be modi- fied. In the case of invasions by pests such as locusts, methods of biological control or disease suppression used in the place of origin can be useful. , in order to establish Determine how much production is at risk Ì the appropriate scale of pest control campaigns or activities. In- festation (not loss) of more than 10 percent of a crop area is an outbreak that demands a rapid policy response. However, risks from pests are often over-estimated, and crops can to some extent compensate physiologically for pest damage. The response should not be disproportionate. Undertake surveillance to track pest patterns in real time, and Ì adjust response. Georeferenced systems for plant pest surveillance use data from fixed plots, along with roving survey data and map- ping and analysis tools.

83 Chapter 6: Plant Protection 71 Approaches that save and grow cosystem approaches have contributed to the success of many large-scale pest E management strategies in a variety of cropping systems. For example: spending on pesticide in rice production  Reduced insecticide use 10 . However, between 1988 and 2005 in rice in the past five years, the availability of Most tropical rice crops require no low-cost pesticides, and shrinking support 9 . insecticide use under intensification for farmers’ education and field-based Yields have increased from 3 tonnes ecological research, have led to renewed per ha to 6 tonnes through the use high levels of use of pesticides and of improved varieties, fertilizer and large-scale pest outbreaks, particularly in irrigation. Indonesia drastically reduced 11 . Southeast Asia Gallagher, K.D., Kenmore, P.E. & Sogawa, K. 1994. Judicial use of Changes in rice production insecticides deter planthopper and spending on pesticides in Indonesia outbreaks and extend the life of resistant varieties in Southeast 60 180 Asian rice. In R.F. Denno & T.J. d d i d cti n d Paddy production addy production a a a d d d d d d d d y y y y y p p p p p r r r d d d d d d d d u u u t t t t t t o o o n n n n c r c i t d d y a a Pa Paddy pro a a d y y p p r r oduction d d u u t t o o n n y producti dy production i o P y ro a r n n du d o P i t d d P Pdd d d d cti d d t t dti Perfect, eds. Planthoppers: 50 Their ecology and 160 management, pp. 599-614. million tonnes 40 Oudejans, J.H.M. 1999. Studies 120 on IPM policy in SE Asia: Two 30 centuries of plant protection in Indonesia, Malaysia, 80 i R Ric ticid i t d t t t d R e t e e e e p c ic R d i e p e t cide c d e e pest Rice pesticid p t c t Rice pesticide c c R i e p e t c d e t Rice pestic and Thailand. Wageningen 20 Agricultural University Papers 40 99.1. Wageningen, the 10 Netherlands. Watkins, S. 2003. The world 0 0 US$ millions market for crop protection 2003 1983 1973 1993 products in rice. Agrow Report. London, PJB Publications. the cassava mealybug throughout most  Biocontrol of cassava pests of sub-Saharan Africa. This control was In Latin America, the centre of origin of provided by natural enemies from Latin the cassava, pest insects are normally America, which were widely established kept under good natural population in Africa in the 1980s and are now being regulation. However, pests cause heavy 12, 13 . introduced to Asia damage when inappropriately treated with insecticides or when the crop and its pests are moved to another region, such as Africa or Asia, where effective natural enemies are absent. A biocontrol initiative led by IITA successfully brought cassava under control the cassava green mite and

84 72 Save and Grow Ecosystem approach  Impact of IPM and improved agronomic practices to citrus diseases on seed cotton production, in four districts of eastern Uganda (percent) Traditionally, growers in China and 200 Nam relied on manipulating ants Viet to defend citrus trees from a wide range 150 of insect pests. Recent pest outbreaks on citrus in Australia, Eritrea, Israel 100 and the United States of America have followed excessive insecticide spraying, which disrupted naturally occurring 50 biocontrol. While Huanglongbing disease (HLB) has not been resolved, several 0 Mbale Kassese Lira Palissa ecosystem approaches have slowed the impact of infection. They include Control plots IPM demonstration plots certification programmes for mother trees Hillocks, R., Orr, A., Riches, C. & and geographical isolation of nursery  Natural enemies of cotton pests Promotion of IPM Russell, D. 2006. production, which is conducted in secure for smallholder cotton in Uganda. Cotton systems have a diverse natural DFID Crop Protection Programme, insect proof screen houses. In commercial enemy fauna, consisting of general Final Technical Report, Project plantations, insect vectors are controlled R8403. Kent, UK, Natural Resources predators that keep sucking pests, such Institute, University of Greenwich. using chemical insecticides and, where as white flies and leaf hoppers, under applicable, biocontrol or intercropping adequate natural control. Cotton’s with repellent plants such as guava. tolerance for these pests changes during Infected trees are removed to reduce HLB the crop cycle and treatment thresholds 15, 16 . inoculum sources vary according to crop stage and the extent of natural enemy presence. The mosaic of crops near cotton plays an important role in IPM systems, because neighbouring crops – such as melons, and tomatoes – can serve as sources of pests or, as in the case of fodder crops such as alfalfa, of natural enemies. In addition, effective host plant resistance conferred by transgenic Bt cotton has reduced insecticide use 14 . significantly oranges

85 Chapter 6: Plant Protection 73  Control of viral diseases in tomatoes Over the past 10 to years, epidemics of 15 viral diseases associated with high populations tomatoes of whiteflies have plagued tomato production in West Africa, severely reducing yields. In some cases, tomato The examples above suggest various growing is no longer economically viable. tactics that can be employed to counter or A multipartner international public- avoid plant pests in intensified production private research collaboration helped systems: establish in Mali an IPM programme It is important to conserve Insect pests. Ì which included an area-wide campaign to predators, parasitoids and beneficial eliminate infected host plants, followed by pathogens to avoid secondary pest planting of high-yielding early maturing release, manage crop nutrient levels varieties and extensive sanitation efforts to reduce insect reproduction, deploy that removed and destroyed tomato resistant varieties and make selective and pepper plants after harvest. The use of insecticides. programme screened and evaluated new, Plant diseases. Ì Organize seed systems early maturing disease-tolerant varieties, that can deliver clean planting material, and used monthly monitoring of whitefly and deploy varieties with durable pest populations and virus incidence to assess resistance. Use of clean irrigation water the impact of control practices. As a result, will help ensure that pathogens are recent tomato production was the highest not spread, while crop rotations will 17 . in 15 years help suppress pathogens and support soil and root health. Farmers need to manage antagonists of plant pests to enhance biological control. Ì Weeds. Management of weeds requires selective and timely manual weed control, crop rotation, cover crops, minimum tillage, intercropping and fertility management, including organic amendments. Herbicides should be used for targeted, selective control and managed so as to avoid the evolution of herbicide resistance.

86 Save and Grow 74 The way forward ement, still pest manag he “business as usual” approach to T followed in many countries and by many farmers, limits their potential for imple menting sustainable crop production intensification. Improve ments in agro-ecosystem management can help avoid indigenous pest outbreaks, respond better to pest invasions and reduce risks from pesticides to both human health and the environment. Entry points for improved ecosystem-based pest control include: a major pest or disease outbreak that threatens food security; Ì food safety concerns arising from high levels of pesticide residues Ì in farm produce; incidences of environmental pollution or human poisoning; Ì striking losses of beneficial species, such as pollinators or birds; Ì pesticide mismanagement, such as the proliferation of obsolete Ì pesticide stockpiles. In each of these cases, there is need for a pest control strategy that can be sustained and does not produce adverse side effects. After a nationally or regionally recognized pest problem has been brought under control with IPM, policymakers and technical staff are usually much more receptive to the approach, and also more willing to make the necessary policy and institutional changes to support it in the long term. The changes may include removal of pesticide subsidies, tighter enforcement of pesticide regulations, and incentives for local production of IPM inputs, such as insectaries for natural predators. Countries should give preference to less hazardous pesticides in registration processes. They should also ensure that they apply eco- logically informed decision-making to determine which pesticides may be sold and used, by whom and in what situations. Eventually, pesticide-use fees or pesticide taxes, which were pioneered in India in 1994, may be used to finance the development of alternative pest management practices and subsidize their adoption. Policymakers can support SCPI through IPM programmes at a local, regional or national scale. They should be aware, however, that the success of effective pest management using IPM techniques depends ultimately on farmers. It is they who make key management decisions on the control of pests and diseases. Policy instruments include:

87 Chapter 6: Plant Protection 75 Changing perceptions of emergencies that involve pest or disease outbreaks Perceptions “Business as usual” Ecosystems approach ` Sudden and severe pest ` Loss of agro-ecosystem functions Emergency resulting in severe pest outbreaks outbreaks High presence of pests ` Changes in pest population age ` Indicators structure ` Visual crop damage ` Emergence of pesticide resistance and Yield losses and reduced ` abnormal outbreaks of secondary pests farmer incomes ` Upward spiralling of pesticide use ` Yield losses and diminished farmer incomes Pesticide overuse ` ` Pesticide resistance Causes ` Poor crop management Appearance of new pests ` Weather conditions ` ` Insufficient availability of pesticides ` Emergence of new pests ` Weather conditions ` Supply more or different ` Analysis of causes of pest problem Response and development of strategy for recovery pesticides of agro-ecosystem functions and rehabilitation of institutional capacity to guide recovery ` Avoid solutions that perpetuate the problem ` Strengthen IPM capacity through investment in human capital to farmers in apply- Technical assistance and extension support Ì ing ecologically based management practices and developing and adapting technologies, taking into account their local knowledge, social learning networks and conditions. Targeted research in areas such as host plant resistance to pests Ì and diseases, practical monitoring and surveillance methods, in- novative approaches to field pest management, the use of selective pesticides (including biopesticides) and biocontrol. Private sector regulation , including effective systems of governance Ì for the registration and distribution of pesticides (specifically cov-

88 Save and Grow 76 ered by the International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides). Removal of perverse incentives such as pesticide price or transport Ì subsidies, the unnecessary maintenance of pesticide stocks, which encourages their use, and preferential tariffs for pesticides. Large-scale adoption of ecosystem approaches would provide oppor- tunities for small local industries. The scaling up of ecological pest management practices can be expected to increase demand for com mercial monitoring tools, biocontrol agents such as predators, par a sitoids or sterile organisms, pollination services, micro- organisms and biopesticides. Today, private companies produce more than 1000 bio-products, worth some US$590 million in 2003, 18 . This based on bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa and nematodes local industry would expand significantly with a shift to a more ecosystem-centric approach. From the perspective of the food processing industry, more stable and sustainable agro-ecosystems will result in a more consistent and reliable supply of agricultural produce free of pesticide residues. Additionally, labelling food products with an IPM or similar label can help ensure access to new markets for producers. Sustaining IPM strategies requires effective advisory services, links to research that respond to farmers’ needs, support to the provision of IPM inputs, and effective regulatory control of chemical pesticide distribution and sale. One of the most effective means of promoting IPM at local level is the farmer field school, an approach that supports local learning and encourages farmers to adapt IPM tech nologies by drawing upon indigenous knowledge. Farmers need ready access to information on appropriate IPM inputs. The adoption of IPM can be accelerated by using, for example, cellular phones to sup plement traditional methods of outreach, such as extension, media campaigns and local inputs dealers.

89 Chapter 7 Policies and institutions To encourage smallholders to adopt sustainable crop production intensification, fundamental changes are needed in agricultural development policies and institutions


91 79 Policies and Institutions Chapter 7: nprecedented challenges to agriculture – including popu- lation growth, climate change, energy scarcity, natural resources degradation and market globalization – un- U derscore the need to rethink policies and institutions for crop production intensification. Models used for intensification in the past have often led to costly environmental damage, and need to be revised in order to achieve greater sustainability. While “business as usual” is clearly not an option, what alternatives are available? The focus here is on defining the conditions, policies and institu- tions that will enable smallholder farmers – in low-income develop- ing economies in particular – to adopt sustainable crop production intensification. It also considers overarching issues that affect not only SCPI, but are important for the development of an agricultural sector in which SCPI is facilitated and supported. It recognizes that programmes to promote SCPI may need to go beyond “agricultural” institutions and involve other centres of policymaking. Past experience, future scenarios he Green Revolution was supported largely by public sector in- T vestment, with almost all of the research and development (R&D) on modern varieties being carried out in international and national research centres. Seed and agrochemicals were disseminated through government-sponsored programmes at subsidized prices. Since the mid-1980s, the locus of agricultural research and de- velopment has shifted dramatically from the public to the private 1 . Greater protection of intellectual property in multinational sector plant innovations, rapid progress in molecular biology and the global integration of agricultural input and output markets have generated strong incentives for the private sector to invest in agricultural re- 2 . So far, investments have targeted agricul- search and development ture mainly in developed countries. Meanwhile, overall growth in public sector investment in agricultural research and development in developing countries has declined significantly. In sub-Saharan 3 . Africa, investment actually decreased during the 1990s Throughout the 1980s and until the mid-1990s, many developing countries implemented structural adjustment programmes aimed at eliminating inefficient public sector activities and allowing a dynamic

92 Save and Grow 80 private sector to reinvigorate agriculture. The results have been mixed: in many cases a dynamic private sector failed to materialize, or developed only in high potential and commercialized production, while access to agricultural services and inputs declined in more mar- 4 . More recently, there has been a shift towards redefining ginal areas the role of the public sector to support the development of the private 5 . sector, and to provide the public goods required for development Growth in organized and globalized food value chains is another major transformation with important implications for SCPI. These chains create new income opportunities for smallholders but also generate barriers to market access. There are concerns that the con- centration of market power at specific points in the chain reduces 6, 7 . the incomes of other actors in the chain, particularly small farmers Considerable potential exists for improving the economic returns to farming systems while also reducing environmental and social impacts. However, that will require alternative models of agricultural technology and marketing development. Although productivity in- creases may be achieved faster in high-input, large-scale, specialized farming systems, the greatest scope for improving livelihood and 8 . equity exists in small-scale, diversified production systems and supply conditions, Given the uncertainty of future demand a range of scenarios for sustainable intensification in developing countries is possible. Important factors that could constitute major deviations from the baseline growth path are: Climate change. The impact of climate change on global agricul- Ì ture is potentially enormous. Assessments are complex, involving projections of potential changes in climate and their impacts on production, interacting with demographic growth and dietary 9 . A recent patterns, and market, trade and price developments 10 of climate change impacts on agriculture up to IFPRI analysis 2050 indi cated dramatic negative effects on productivity, with reduced food availability and human well-being in all develop- ing regions. Together with increased demand owing to income and population growth, this was likely to contribute to a more or less significant increase in real agricultural prices between 2010 and 2050, depending on the scenario. The report estimates that public funding of at least US$7 billion annually is needed on three categories of productivity-enhancing investments – biological research, expansion of rural roads, and irrigation expansion and

93 81 Policies and Institutions Chapter 7: efficiency improvements – to compensate for the productivity losses associated with climate change by 2050. Other studies show less dramatic outcomes, with the overall impact of climate change on global food prices ranging between 7 percent and 20 percent 11 . Since agriculture is also a major source of greenhouse in 2050 gas emissions, financial support and incentives to promote the adoption of low emission agricultural growth paths will become increasingly important. Reducing emissions per unit of production 12, 13 . will be a key aspect of SCPI The quality of land and water Natural resources degradation. Ì resources available for crop intensification has major implica- tions for the design of SCPI in many areas. In the past, favourable 14 . production areas were given priority for crop intensification Increasingly, intensification will be required in more marginal areas with more variable production conditions, including soil and water quality, access to water, topography and climate. In this context, an important issue is ecosystem degradation, which reduces the availability and productivity of natural resources for SCPI. Restoration of degraded ecosystems can involve considerable expense and time, and will need long-term financing. Reduction of food losses and changes in food consumption patterns. Ì FAO has reported post-harvest food losses of as high as 50 percent. Because action to prevent those losses would reduce the need for productivity increases, reduce costs throughout the supply chain and improve product quality, it should be part of SCPI policies and strategies. An alternative scenario, which favours environmental sustainability as well as human health, is a slowdown in growth in demand for animal products, which would reduce demand growth for feed and forage. To be attractive to farmers, SCPI must lead to Market integration. Ì remunerative market prices. A rising trend in agricultural prices, stimulated in part by the resource constraints that are driving the move to SCPI, will enhance the profitability of investments in intensification. On the other hand, rapid productivity growth at local levels and under conditions of closed markets could gener- ate market surpluses, driving down local prices. Price effects will also be mediated by the state of the value chain. The development of agricultural value chains must aim at enhancing smallholders’ capacity for SCPI adoption and provide incentives.

94 Save and Grow 82 Policies that save and grow successful strategy for sustainable intensification of crop produc- A tion requires a fundamental change in the management of tra- ditional and modern knowledge, institutions, rural investment and capacity development. Policies in all of those domains will need to provide incentives to various stakeholders and actors, especially the rural population, to participate in SCPI development. Input and output pricing To be profitable, SCPI requires a dynamic and efficient market for inputs and services as well as for the final produce. The prices farm- ers pay for inputs and are paid for agricultural outputs are perhaps the main determinant of the level, type and sustainability of crop intensification they adopt. Input prices are of particular importance for SCPI strategies, and creative policies will be needed to promote efficiency and inf luence technology choices. One example is the reintroduction of “market smart” subsidies, aimed at supporting the development of demand and participation in input markets using vouchers and grants. The approach seeks to avoid past problems with subsidies, such as inefficiency, negative effects on the environment, and the waste of financial resources that are needed for investments 5 . in other key public goods, such as research and rural infrastructure In contrast, environmentally harmful (or “perverse”) subsidies, which encourage the use of natural resources in ways that destroy 15 , need to be carefully evaluated and, when appropriate, biodiversity reformulated or removed. Perverse subsidies worldwide have been valued at from US$500 billion to US$1.5 trillion a year, and represent a 16 . powerful force for environmental damage and economic inefficiency Of course, most incentives are not designed to be “perverse” but rather to benefit a particular social or economic sector. When plan- ning their removal, it is important, therefore, to consider the multiple objectives of incentives and to take into account the complexity of interactions among the different sectors affected positively and 17 . Some countries have done so successfully: New negatively by them 18 ; Brazil Zealand abolished agricultural subsidies, starting in the 1980s has reduced livestock farming in the Amazon basin; and the Philip- 17, 19 . pines has abolished fertilizer subsidies Stabilization of agricultural output prices is an increasingly im- portant condition for sustainable intensification of crop production,

95 83 Policies and Institutions Chapter 7: given the volatility experienced in commodity markets in the past few years. For farmers dependent on agricultural income, price volatility means large income fluctuations and greater risk. It reduces their capacity to invest in sustainable systems and increases the incentives to liquidate natural capital as a source of insurance. Short-term, micro-level policies to address price volatility have frequently failed. Greater coherence at the macro policy level – for example, transparency over export availabilities and import demands – is likely to provide much more effective solutions. Reform of existing instruments, such as the Compensatory Financing Facility and the Exogenous Shock Facility of the International Monetary Fund is also needed. Through the provision of import financing or guarantees 18 . with limited conditionality, they could serve as global safety nets Seed sector regulation Achievement of SCPI will also depend on the effective regulation of the seed sector in order to ensure farmers’ access to quality seeds of varieties that meet their production, consumption and market- ing conditions. Access implies affordability, availability of a range of appropriate varietal material, and having information about the 21 . adap tation of the variety Most small farmers in developing countries obtain seed from the informal seed sector, which provides traditional farmer-bred varieties and saved seeds of improved varieties. One of the main reasons farm- ers rely on the informal seed sector is the availability of germplasm adapted to their production conditions. Some local varieties may out- 22 . perform improved varieties in marginal agricultural environments Supporting the informal sector is, therefore, one way of improving farmer access to planting material suitable for SCPI. However, the informal seed sector lacks a viable means of inform- ing farmers about the adaptation and production characteristics of the variety embodied in seeds, as well as their genetic purity and 23 . In some cases, the necessary information is sup- physical quality plied simply by observing the performance of crops in a neighbour’s field. But that is not a viable option in exchanges involving strangers and non-local seed sources. Seed in formal systems is genetically uniform, is produced using scientific plant-breeding techniques, and must meet certification standards. Seed from this sector tends to be sold through specialized agro-dealers, agri-businesses or government outlets, which are subject to regulation. Any comprehensive strategy

96 Save and Grow 84 for improving farmers’ access to new varieties and quality seed needs to support and expand the formal seed sector, and improve its links with the informal sector. Payments for environmental services The lack of market prices for ecosystem services and biodiversity means that the benefits derived from those goods are neglected or 24 . In the agriculture sector, food undervalued in decision-making prices do not incorporate all the associated costs to the environment of food production. No agencies exist to collect charges for reduced water quality or soil erosion. If farmgate prices ref lected the full cost of production – with farmers effectively paying for any environmental damage they caused – food prices would probably rise. In addition to charging for agricultural disservices, policies could reward those farmers who farm sustainably through, for example, payments for environmental services (PES) schemes. Support is growing for the use of payments for environmental services as part of the enabling policy environment for sustainable agricultural and rural development. The World Bank recommends that PES programmes be pursued by local and national governments 5 . PES are being integrated as well as the international community increasingly as a source of sustainable financing in wider rural devel- opment and conservation projects in Global Environment Facility and 25 . FAO says that demand for environmental World Bank portfolios services from agricultural landscapes will increase and PES could be an important means of stimulating their supply. However, effective deployment will depend on enabling policies and institutions at lo- 26 . cal and international levels which, in most cases, are not in place Currently, the role of PES programmes in support of sustainable agriculture is rather limited. PES initiatives have focused mainly on land diversion programmes, and there is relatively little experience with their application to agricultural production systems. To realize their benefits, PES programmes will need to cover large numbers of producers and areas, which would achieve economies of scale in transaction costs and risk management. Better integration of PES with agricultural development programmes is an important way of reducing transaction costs. Given the limits on public finance, creative forms of alternative or additional funding from private sources will need to be developed, especially where private beneficiaries of PES can be identified. For

97 85 Policies and Institutions Chapter 7: example, a recent FAO feasibility assessment of PES in Bhutan found that the government’s support for forest protection and reforestation 27 . amounted to about a third of the Ministry of Agriculture’s budget Half of the funding for watershed management was assigned to 28 . Were more of this investment responsibility shifted plantations to the companies that benefit from forest protection, additional public funding could be released for under-funded activities – such as crop diversification, livestock improvement and sustainable land management – which would improve farm productivity and increase 29, 30 . resilience to climate change Agricultural investment To engage in SCPI, the private sector – including farmers, processors and retailers – needs adequate public infrastructure and services. These are essential not only to ensure that local farming and market- ing can compete with imports, but also to ensure that consumers have access to affordable, locally produced food. It is particularly important that governments ensure low transaction costs for input acquisition, produce marketing, and access to natural resources, information, training, education and social services. That will require adequate funding for both maintenance and net investment. The agricultural sector in developing countries will need sub- stantial and sustained investment in human, natural, financial and social capital in order to achieve SCPI. According to FAO estimates, total average annual gross investment of US$209 billion, at constant 2009 prices, is needed in primary agriculture (such as soil fertility, farm machinery and livestock) and in downstream sectors (stor- age, marketing and processing) in order to achieve the production increases needed by 2050. Public investment would also be needed in agricultural research and development, rural infrastructure and 21 . social safety nets Current investment in the agriculture of developing countries is clearly insufficient. Inadequate levels of domestic funding have been exacerbated by the reduction in Official Development Assistance to agriculture since the late 1980s. Together, these shortfalls have led over the last two decades to a drastic decline in capital for agricultural development. If SCPI is to succeed, agricultural investment must be significantly increased. Funding for climate change adaptation and mitigation is highly relevant to SCPI. For example, one key means of adapting to climate

98 Save and Grow 86 change – increasing resilience in agricultural production systems through the use of new varieties generated by expanded plant breed- ing and seed systems – is an essential component of sustainable intensification. SCPI could thus benefit from funding allocated to climate change adaptation. Sustainable intensification could also play an important role in climate change mitigation, through increased carbon sequestration in sustainably managed soils and reduction of emissions owing to more efficient use of fertilizer and irrigation. At present, there is no international agreement or framework for channelling mitigation funding on a significant scale to agriculture in developing countries. However, it is one area of discussion in the UNFCCC negotiations within the context of developing countries’ 12, 21 . Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions Enabling institutions lack of institutional capacity and functioning is a common con- A straint on agriculture in developing countries, and limits the effectiveness of policies at local level. Institutions for SCPI will have two basic functions: to ensure the necessary quantity and quality of key resources – natural resources, inputs, knowledge and finance – and to ensure that small farmers have access to those resources. In the following, institutions are divided into two main categories: those related to key resources for SCPI, and those that influence the functioning of agricultural product markets, including value chains. Access to key resources The shift to SCPI requires improvements in soil fertility, ero- Land. sion control and water management. Farmers will undertake them only if they are entitled to benefit, for a sufficiently long period, from the increase in the value of natural capital. Often, however, their rights are poorly defined, overlapping or not formalized. Improving the land and water rights of farmers – especially those of women, who are increasingly the ones making production decisions – is a key incentive to adoption of sustainable intensification. Land tenure programmes in many developing countries have focused on formalizing and privatizing rights to land, with little re- gard for customary and collective systems of tenure. Governments

99 87 Policies and Institutions Chapter 7: should give greater recognition to such systems, as growing evidence indicates that, where they provide a degree of security, they can also 31 . However, customary provide effective incentives for investments systems that are built on traditional social hierarchies may be inequi- table and fail to provide the access needed for sustainable intensifica- tion. While there is no single “best practice” model for recognizing customary land tenure, recent research has outlined a typology for selecting alternative policy responses based on the capacity of the 32 . customary tenure system Plant genetic resources. Crop improvement is fundamental to SCPI. During the Green Revolution, the international system that gener- ated new crop varieties was based on open access to plant genetic resources. Today, national and international policies increasingly support the privatization of PGR and plant breeding through the use of intellectual property rights (IPRs). The number of countries that provide legal protection to plant varieties has grown rapidly in response to the WTO Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, which stipulates that members must 33 . system” sui generis offer protection through “patents or an effective Plant variety protection systems typically grant a temporary ex- clusive right to the breeders of a new variety to prevent others from reproducing and selling seed of that variety. They range from patent systems with rather restrictive rules to the more open system under the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants, which contains the so-called “breeders’ exemption”, whereby “acts done for the purpose of breeding other varieties are not subject to any restriction”. IPRs have stimulated rapid growth in private sector funding of agri- cultural research and development. Only 20 years ago, most R&D was carried out by universities and public laboratories in industrialized countries and generally available in the public domain. Investment 34 . There is evidence of a is now concentrated in six major companies growing divide between a small group of countries with high levels of 3, 35 . More R&D investments and a large number with very low levels importantly, technology spillovers from industrialized to developing countries are driven by research agendas that are oriented towards commercial prospects rather than maximum public good. Increasing concentration in the private plant breeding and seed industry, and the high costs associated with developing and patenting

100 Save and Grow 88 biotechnology innovations, raise further concerns that the introduc- tion of inappropriate IPRs will restrict access to the plant genetic resources needed for new plant breeding initiatives in the public 34, 36 . It has been argued that decentralized ownership of IPRs sector and high transactions costs can lead to an “anti-commons” phenom- enon in which innovations with fragmented IPRs are underused, thus 37 . impeding the development of new varieties Mechanisms are needed, therefore, to safeguard access to plant genetic resources for SCPI, at both global and national levels. The emerging global system for the conservation and use of plant genetic resources will provide the necessary international framework (see Chapter 4, Crops and varieties ). There are several kinds of national 38 . Coun- IPR regime, with varying degrees of obligations and access tries should adopt IPR systems that ensure access of their national breeding programmes to the plant genetic resources needed for SCPI. Applied agricultural research must become much more Research. effective in facilitating major transformations in land use and crop- ping systems for SCPI. Many agricultural research systems are not sufficiently development-oriented, and have often failed to integrate the needs and priorities of the poor in their work. Research systems are often under-resourced, and even some that are well-funded are not 39 . sufficiently connected with the broader processes of development The following are the most important steps needed for strengthening research for SCPI: Increase funding. The decline of public investment in agricultural Ì R&D needs to be reversed. Funding for the CGIAR Centers and national research systems must be substantially enhanced, and linkages between public and private sector research strengthened. Strengthen research systems, starting at local levels. To g e n e r- Ì ate solutions that are relevant, acceptable and attractive to local populations, research on SCPI practices must start at the local and national levels, with support from the global level. While impor- tant, the research efforts of the CGIAR “can neither substitute, nor replace the complex and routine strategizing, planning, implement- ing, problem-solving and learning needed on multiple fronts, which 39 . There is a only national institutions and actors can and must do” huge, underutilized potential to link farmers’ traditional knowledge with science-based innovations, through favourable institutional arrangements. The same holds for the design, implementation and

101 89 Policies and Institutions Chapter 7: monitoring of improved natural resource management that links community initiatives to external expertise. Focus research on SCPI in both high and low potential areas. Ì High-potential areas will continue to be major providers of food in many countries. However, the productive capacity of land and water resources is reaching its limits in some areas, and will not be sufficient to guarantee food security. Therefore, much of future growth in food production will need to take place in so-called low potential or marginal areas, which are home to hundreds of millions of the poorest and most food insecure people. SCPI and related rural employment offer the most realistic prospects for improving those people’s nutrition and livelihoods. In low-income, Give priority to research that benefits smallholders. Ì food importing countries, small-scale producers, farm workers and consumers can benefit directly from SCPI research focused on staple food crops, which have a comparative advantage. Prior- ity should also go to agricultural productivity growth and natu- ral resources conservation in heavily populated marginal areas, diversification to higher value products in order to increase and stabilize farmers’ incomes, and improved practices that increase 40 . returns to labour of landless and near-landless rural workers Learn from failures and successes. A recent IFPRI study of proven Ì 10 highlights the breeding successes in agricultural development of rust-resistant wheat and improved maize worldwide, improved cassava varieties in Africa, farmer-led “re-greening of the Sahel” ), and zero-tillage on Soil health in Burkina Faso (see Chapter 3, the Indo-Gangetic Plain (see Chapter 2, ). Those Farming systems successes were the result of a combination of factors, including sustained public investment, private incentives, experimentation, local evaluation, community involvement and dedicated leadership. In all cases, science and technology were a determinant. Link research with extension. Solutions to the problems of low Ì productivity and degradation of natural resources are needed at large scale, but replication of SCPI practices is constrained by the vast range and diversity of site-specific conditions. Linking local, national and international research and site-specific extension services is, therefore, particularly important. To be relevant for the advancement of SCPI, research and extension systems must work together with farmers in addressing multiple challenges.

102 Save and Grow 90 Technologies and information. Successful adoption of SCPI will depend on the capacity of farmers to make wise technology choices, taking into account both short- and long-term implications. Farmers also need to have a good understanding of the role of agro-ecosystem functions. The wealth of traditional knowledge held by farmers and local communities all over the world has been widely documented, in particular by the report of the International Assessment of Agri- 8 . cultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development Institutions are needed to protect this knowledge and to facilitate its exchange and use in SCPI strategies. Institutions must also ensure farmers’ access to relevant external knowledge and help link it to traditional knowledge. Rural advisory and agricultural extension services were once the main channel for the flow of new knowledge to – and, in some cases, from – farmers. However, public extension systems in many developing countries have long been in decline, and the private sector has failed to meet 12 . The standard, public sector and the needs of low-income producers supply-driven model of agricultural extension, based on technology transfer and delivery, has all but disappeared in many countries, 41 . particularly in Latin America Extension has been privatized and decentralized, with activities now involving a wide array of actors, such as agribusiness companies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), producer organizations and farmer-to-farmer exchanges, and new channels of communication, 42 . One key lesson from this including mobile phones and the Internet experience is that the high transactions costs of individual exten- sion contacts are a major barrier to reaching small and low-income producers. Advisory services to support SCPI will need to build upon 12 . farmer organizations and networks, and public-private partnerships FAO promotes farmer field schools as a participatory approach to farmer education and empowerment. The aim of the FFS is to build farmers’ capacity to analyse their production systems, identify problems, test possible solutions and adopt appropriate practices and technologies. Field schools have been very successful in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, notably in Kenya and Sierra Leone, where they cover a broad range of farming activities, including marketing, and have proved to be sustainable even without donor funding. To make wise decisions about what to plant and where and when to sell, farmers need access to reliable information about market prices, including medium-term trends. Government market information

103 91 Policies and Institutions Chapter 7: 43 services suffer many of the same weaknesses as extension services . There is now renewed donor and commercial interest in market information, taking advantage of SMS messaging and the Internet. Financial resources for farmers. Credit will be essential for cre- ating the technical and operational capacities needed for SCPI. In particular, longer term loans are needed for investment in natural capital, such as soil fertility, that will increase efficiency, promote good agricultural practices and boost production. Although many new types of institutions – such as credit unions, savings coopera- tives and micro-finance institutions – have spread to the rural areas of developing countries in recent years, the majority of small farmers have limited or no access to them. The inability of local financial institutions to offer longer term loans, coupled with farmers’ lack of collateral, hampers sustainable crop intensification. Insurance would encourage farmers to adopt production sys- tems that are potentially more productive and more profitable, but involve greater financial risk. In recent years, pilot crop insurance programmes have been introduced as a risk management tool in many rural communities in developing countries. Index insurance products – where indemnities are triggered by a measurable weather event, such as drought or excess rain, rather than by an assessment of losses in the field – have found enthusiastic support among do- nors and gov ernments. Assessments by IFAD and the World Food Programme of 36 weather-based index insurance pilot programmes 44 . have demon strated their potential as a risk-management tool Alternatives to insurance, especially the accumulation of savings and other saleable assets, are often overlooked. Also, preventive, on- farm measures and instruments to reduce exposure to risk should be seriously considered. Productive social safety nets. Social safety net programmes in- 45 . They clude cash transfers and distribution of food, seeds and tools ensure access to a minimum amount of food and other vital social services. Recent initiatives include Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Programme and the Kenya Hunger Safety Net Programme. There is debate about whether such programmes risk creating dependency and weakening local markets. However, recent evidence indicates that 46 . trade-offs between protection and development are not pronounced Instead, safety net programmes can be a form of social investment in

104 Save and Grow 92 human capital (for example, nutrition and education) and productive capital, allowing households to adopt higher risk strategies aimed at 27 . achieving higher productivity Policymakers need to understand the determinants of vulnerability at the household level and to design productive safety nets that offset the downward spiral of external shocks and coping strategies. The latter include selling assets, reducing investments in natural resources and taking children out of school, all of which undermine sustain- ability. Safety nets are also increasingly being linked to rights-based 47 . approaches to food security Agricultural marketing institutions and value chains Growth of the food marketing sector offers new opportunities for smallholder farmers by broadening their choice of input suppliers and of outlets for produce, as well as increasing their access to credit 48, 49 . However, access to both input and output markets and training has proved problematic for many smallholders, who remain at the 50-53 . margins of the new agricultural economy How smallholders fit into a specific agricultural value chain de- pends largely on the underlying cost structures of the chain and of 54 . The primary cost advantage of their farm production processes smallholders is their ability to supply low-cost labour for labour- intensive crops. When smallholders have no apparent comparative advantage, agribusinesses may seek alternative structures for organiz- ing production, such as vertical integration or buying directly from large holders. In those cases, the challenge is to create comparative advantages for smallholders or to reduce the transaction costs as- sociated with purchasing from large numbers of farmers producing small quantities. To forge links to high-value markets, small farmers need to be organized in institutions that reduce transaction costs, 48, 49, 54, 55 . and given access to information on market requirements Contract farming provides mechanisms of vertical coordination between farmers and buyers, which allows for an evident degree of assurance in some of the main negotiation parameters: price, qual- 56 . While farmers have benefited ity, quantity and time of delivery from contractual agreements, substantial evidence suggests that the 55 . smallest farmers are often unable to enter formal arrangements Improving the legal and institutional framework of contracts would 55, 57 . However, farm consolida- dramatically reduce transaction costs

105 93 Policies and Institutions Chapter 7: tion, resulting from increased off-farm rural employment or migra- tion to urban areas, appears inevitable. Small farmer access to markets can also be improved through better organization and greater cooperation, which may involve not only farmers but also a larger number of stakeholders, including agricultural support service providers, NGOs, researchers, universi- ties, local government and international donors. One example is the Plataforma de concertación in Ecuador, which has helped farmers to achieve higher yields and gross margins, while reducing the use of toxic pesticides. Nevertheless, its self-financing capability has still 54 . to be verified The way forward rom the outset, policymakers should take a long, hard look at past F and current experiences in order to identify clear options and steps that need to be taken now to foster sustainable crop production intensification. There is no “one-size-fits-all” set of recommendations for choosing the most appropriate policies and institutions. However, it is possible to identify the key features of a supporting policy and institutional environment for SCPI: Linking public and private sector support. The private sector Ì and civil society have an important role to play in increasing the availability of investment funds, promoting greater efficiency and accountability of institutions, and ensuring a participatory and transparent policy process. Resource mobilization should take into consideration the full range of services and products that SCPI can generate. Payments for environmental services generated by a sustainable production system may prove to be an important source of investment resources. Incorporating the value of natural resources and ecosystem ser- Ì vices into agricultural input and output price policies. That can be achieved by establishing realistic environmental standards, elimi nating perverse incentives, such as subsidies on fertilizer and pesticides, and by creating positive incentives, such as payments for environmental services, or environmental labelling in value chains.

106 Save and Grow 94 Increasing coordination and reducing transaction costs. Involving Ì small farmers in SCPI development requires coordinated action to reduce the transaction costs of access to input and output markets, extension and payments for environmental services. Institutions and technologies that facilitate participation – including farmer groups, community organizations, customary forms of collective action, and modern communication technologies – are therefore a key requirement for SCPI. Building regulatory, research and advisory systems for a very wide Ì SCPI represents range of production and marketing conditions. a shift from a highly standardized and homogeneous model of agricultural production to regulatory frameworks that allow for and encourage heterogeneity – for example, by including informal seed systems in seed regulatory policies and integrating traditional knowledge into research and extension. Recognizing and incorporating customary access and manage- Ì Assessing and strengthening ment practices into SCPI initiatives. the current capacity of customary systems of access to the inputs needed for SCPI, and of indigenous systems of agricultural man- agement, will both be important. Policies and programmes for sustainable crop production inten- sification will cut across a number of sectors and involve a variety of stakeholders. Therefore, a strategy for achieving sustainable inten- sification needs to be a cross-cutting component of a national devel- opment strategy. An important step for policymakers in achieving SCPI adoption is to initiate a process of embedding or mainstreaming strategies for sustainable intensification in national development objectives. SCPI should be an integral part of country-owned devel- opment programmes, such as Poverty Reduction Strategy Processes and food security strategies and investments, including follow-ups to the commitments to support food security made at the Group of 8 summit in L’Aquila, Italy, in 2009. The roll-out of SCPI agendas and plans in developing countries requires concerted action at international and national levels, with the participation of governments, the private sector and civil soci- ety. Multi-stakeholder processes are now considered the key to food security at all levels. At the global level, FAO and its development partners will play an important supporting role.

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114 102 Save and Grow Abbreviations conservation agriculture International Treaty CA ITPGRFA on Plant Genetic Resources for Food CBD Convention on Biological Diversity and Agriculture Consultative Group on International CGIAR nitrogen N Agricultural Research O nitrous oxide N DNR Deutscher Naturschutzring 2 NGOs non-governmental organizations EC European Commission Organisation for Economic Co-operation OECD EU-JRC European Commission - Joint Research and Development Centre phosphorus P FAO Food and Agriculture Organization payments for environmental services PES of the United Nations PGR plant genetic resources FFS farmer field school PGRFA plant genetic resources Global Authors’ Team GAT for food and agriculture Gross National Happiness Commission GNHC RDI regulated deficit irrigation ha hectares research and development R&D HLB Huanglongbing disease SCPI sustainable crop production intensification International Assessment IAASTD SI supplemental irrigation of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development SMS short message service ICARDA International Centre for Agricultural SSNM site-specific nutrient management Research in the Dry Areas t tonnes World Agroforestry Centre ICRAF The Economics of Ecosystems TEEB IFAD International Fund for Agricultural and Biodiversity Development urea deep placement UDP IFDC International Fertilizer Development Center United Nations UN IFPRI International Food Policy Research Institute UNDP United Nations Development Programme IIASA International Institute UNEP United Nations Environment Programme for Applied Systems Analysis UNFCCC United Nations Framework Convention International Institute IISD on Climate Change for Sustainable Development International Union for the Protection UPOV IITA International Institute of New Varieties of Plants of Tropical Agriculture USDA-NRCS United States Department Intergovernmental Panel IPCC of Agriculture - Natural Resources Conservation on Climate Change Service IPM integrated pest management USG urea super granules intellectual property right IPR WFP World Food Programme IRRI International Rice Research Institute WTO World Trade Organization


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