The “Rural Poverty Report 2011” was released by International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) sometime back. This compendium is a comprehensive and current assessment of rural poverty across the globe that addresses the importance of managing risk, need for transformation in agricultural markets, creating opportunities in the rural-non-farm economy among other pertinent issues and challenges.
Chapter 5 of the report in particular takes note of the relevance of Sustainable Agricultural Intensification. It says that improved inputs remain critical for increasing productivity as do supportive polices and investment in agricultural research. However, today’s circumstances require an approach that better preserves the natural resource base and increases resilience of farming systems to climatic changes. It speaks of a growing number of sustainable intensification practices using an agro-ecological perspective
with more selective recourse to external inputs. It defines three features – a systemic approach, context adaptation and linking farmers’ plus scientific knowledge as the key to the emerging agenda.
Interestingly, the cover of the Rural Poverty Report 2011 selects a fine adaption from the East Coast Region, Madagascar, portraying farmers who have harvested rice through System of Rice intensification (SRI) – what IFAD spells out as a set of practices that can substantially increase yields, while using less irrigation water and seeds – a system that has been adopted widely and benefits of which have been documented in over 40 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The IFAD Rural
Poverty Report can be accessed & downloaded from: http://www.ifad.org/