Strategic objectives

  1. To increase our understanding of the spatial and temporal dynamics of rural livelihoods and their relationships with the food security and sustainability and resilience of the natural resource base in selected regions of humid and semi-humid East, West and Southern Africa. 
  2. To identify measures that can promote successful and sustainable development of agricultural smallholder farming systems in humid and semi-humid East, West and Southern Africa. 
  3. To build capacity in integrated systems analysis to evaluate approaches to sustainable intensification of smallholder agriculture in Africa. 
The first objective is the core of the project work. The tools created for data storage and system analysis will allow exploration of scenarios and identification of policy and technical measures to achieve the second objective. The third objective will be achieved through the embedding of the project activities within a much wider research context in Africa and by ensuring sharing of skills and knowledge during the lifetime of the project. 

Scientific objectives

Specific targets of the proposed research project are to set up databases to facilitate synthesis of existing information at farming system level, on the biophysical and social environment and on potential technologies for intervention and farmer adaptation. This synthesis will include the effects of farming systems on key environmental services at the regional level. The environmental services studied encompass erosion, carbon sequestration and soil quality.  Furthermore, it will allow cross-regional comparisons of potential for technologies and interventions within the different agro-ecological and socio-economic contexts. The analytical tool will be used to describe and explain current practices and to explore scenarios for future sustainable development of the farming systems. The exploration of scenarios will be done together with stakeholders to test the validity of the alternative ‘best-bet’ approaches.