SLU news

Insights from AgriFoSe2030 projects

Published: 14 December 2020

Smallholder farming systems make up a majority of farms in low-income countries, contributing to 50-80% of food consumed in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Yet, smallholder farming in these regions remains generally inefficient with low productivity rates, and smallholders face obstacles in terms of technology, market, and capital access. These challenges are further emphasised by constraints caused by climate change and associated environmental degradation. However, it is crucial that the potential of these farming systems is seized, to ensure food and nutrition security in the regions, together with continued rural- and economic development.

AgriFoSe2030 (Agriculture for Food Security) has the aim of developing smallholder agriculture and providing means for the scale up of smallholder farming enterprises in sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, and South Asia. To do this, AgriFoSe2030 takes on an approach which focuses on bridging relevant research focused on smallholder farming, with policy and practice, impacting smallholders. The programme has the specific objective of enabling researchers in the given regional areas to become more involved in policymaking processes. This involves capacity building amongst researchers to communicate and direct their research effectively, together with network development between researchers and decision-makers.

In November 2020, AgriFoSe2030 saw its launch of its second programme phase. Within this phase certain projects established as part of Phase I, focusing on various smallholder farming challenges, as well as entirely new projects, will be taken forward. As such, the programme team have put together videos to provide further insight into four of its projects which started in Phase I and will continue in Phase II. The videos showcase projects taking place in Burkina Faso, Kenya, Laos and South Africa.

“The projects truly showcase how AgriFoSe2030 embodies inclusivity- smallholder farmers are made central to the research.”- Kuntum Melati, SEI Asia during AgriFoSe2030 Launch event 24 November.

In this first video, Josias Sanou, senior scientist at INERA in Burkina Faso, presents the project which focuses on parkland management for improved food crops production. Within this project, he has helped set up and tested a dialogue platform called, Innovative Platform for Parkland Management. This was proven a success in terms of getting information out to relevant stakeholders and making sure they are heard in the process of developing better management practices for parklands. There are plans to develop additional dialogue platforms, especially within the realms of supporting agroecological practices amongst parkland farmers.

In the following video, we are introduced to Dr. Daovy Kongmanilla’s project based in Laos, regarding goat management. Dr. Kongmanilla is a senior researcher at the National University of Laos. Goats can provide a source of income for Lao farmers, however farmers face a key challenge of upkeeping animal health. The project thus, links researcher with farmer groups to contribute to disease prevention as part of their goat management. Within Phase II, the project will develop to place a further focus on linking the farmers groups with domestic and export markets for goat products.

Thirdly, we show here an AgriFoSe2030’s project focusing on urban agriculture in Kenya, presented by Dr. Samuel Onyango Omondi, senior researcher at the University of Nairobi. The project has had the objective of producing sustainable urban agriculture policies which support improved farming practices, and to build on expertise in Nairobi to implement urban agriculture policies and activities in other cities in Kenya. These objectives have been part of an approach which emphasises the socioeconomic dimensions of farmers. In the continuation of the project, the team will zoom out and look at how urban agriculture can contribute to the overall transformation of food systems in Kenyan urban areas.

Lastly, a fourth project is looking at practices for low-cost and sustainable crop disease prevention by using biological products, rather than chemical pesticides. Through AgriFoSe2030 farm trials, using the biological preventions on potato plants, were carried out. These farms were run mainly by women or young farmers. The demonstrations showed the potential of phosphate, and botanical extracts of making potato plants more resistant to aggressive potato pathogens. Listen to Dr. Lerato Matsaunyane, plant breeding scientist at the Agricultural Research Council in Pretoria, South Africa, talk about the project in the video below.

The AgriFoSe2030 programme is a multi-partner collaboration with its key coordinating institutions being, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Lund University (LU), Gothenburg University (GU) and the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI). It is continuously developing with the help of its collaborative partners and clear-cut mission. These highlighted projects are thus, stepping-stones in supporting smallholder farming. With the programme’s unique approach of building capacities amongst the researchers themselves, locally, - as well as establishing their links to other stakeholders in society - the programme has potential for true, long-term impact.