Transforming rural livelihoods and landscapes: Sustainable improvements to incomes, food security and the environment
This white paper (PDF) from AIRCA elaborates on the benefits of a landscape approach to manage synergies and trade-offs of sustainable intensification in agriculture. Landscapes encompass a diversity of interactions between people and environment, and between agricultural and non-agricultural systems. Healthy landscapes not only exhibit healthy ecosystems, but also sustain productive agriculture and communities. This paper sets out our combined experience of successful approaches, opportunities and challenges in moving farmers from a subsistence to a business basis – and their communities from poverty to prosperity. The authors make the following recommendations to increase agricultural productivity in a responsible and sustainable manner, while also achieving healthy development at the landscape level: 1) Scaling out of integrated management approaches to seed selection, soil fertility, water utilization, agronomy and pest management and preserving and utilizing crop diversity, in order to arrive at crop selections, cropping systems and practices of land management which are balanced and optimized in the context of the local environment and needs for income, food and nutritional security; 2) Capacity strengthening at local and regional levels to improve productivity, market access and landscape management in an inclusive manner by involving women, young people, indigenous communities and marginalized groups, and incorporating traditional knowledge; 3) Policy development and implementation at local, national and regional levels to capture the economic value of outputs from landscapes, but also to balance these against the long-term values of ecosystem services, biodiversity and interventions at the landscape scale.