Institutional Change Towards Sustainable Intensification of African Agriculture

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The need to feed 9 billion people in 2050 has given rise to widespread debates on the resilience of our food system. Intensification of agriculture, which enabled population growth and food for most of the global population, is often regarded as incompatible with current environmental (and social) sustainability. Sustainable intensification is viewed as an oxymoron, unless real progress can be made in ecological intensification. Suggested pathways to sustainably intensify agriculture vary from business-as-usual to a radical rethinking of our agricultural production. Dr. Struik and his team explored institutional determinants of innovation towards sustainable intensification of West African agriculture and investigated issues relating to crop, animal, and resources management. Inter- and transdisciplinary research, accompanied by innovation platforms, proved essential to agricultural development in West Africa. Through case studies Struik and team assessed institutional factors that influence small-holder innovation. They proved that institutional mechanisms at aggregation levels higher than the household, farm, or village are relevant. Dr. Struik hopes that his experience will have consequences for setting priorities for agricultural research and the way research should be organized in order to have impact.

ICTAS, West African agriculture, Sustainability, Research