SE138 How to support an Agroecological Transition that sustains food security in developing countries? Challenges to scale up efficiently agroecological transition, the role of the public policies and methodologies to assess its impact.


  • FAO
  • Centre de cooperation internationale en recherche agronomique pour le developpement (CIRAD)
  • Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD)
  • France

There is a growing interest in clarifying the potential role of agroecology to reach food security and safety all-around the world, and particularly in developing countries where the challenge in producing more food and making it accessible to the poorest is still very important.

Based on several examples presented in a common recent book, Cirad and AFD are sharing and discussing the main lessons they learned with their partnerships with farmers and stakeholders on the implementation of the agroecological transition in developing countries under tropical zones.

The discussions during the event will bear on the ways in which the very diverse agricultural models in countries of the Global South can all be facilitated to undergo an agroecological transition. In particular, the various trajectories that this transition can take, and the specificity of its biophysical and organizational levers need to be analyzed. These experiences highlight the new challenges that will have to be met and the conditions that will have to be satisfied for supporting an efficient agroecological transition. The necessity of developing new technologies and innovations based on best management practices that improve labour productivity will be discussed as well as the connection with market and value chains, which are crucial for improving the standard if living of farmers and reduce the poverty.

As a consequence the links between an efficient agroecological transition and food security will be illustrated. On the other hand, since its launch in April 2018 by FAO and major UN partners, the Scaling Up Agroecology Initiative has been catalysing fundamental agreements and commitments needed to scale up and scale out agroecology at all levels in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Initiative is proposed as a way forward and as a strategic approach to promote and achieve the 2030 Agenda, in particular SDG 2. Evidence shows that conducive and coherent policy environments are fundamental to progressively transition to more sustainable food and agricultural systems.

Key speakers/presenters

  • Moderator, Mr Christian Fusillier, Head of Agriculture, Rural Development and Biodiversity Division, AFD
  • Ms Delphine BORIONE, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of France to FAO
  • Mr Hans DREYER, Director, Plant Production and Protection Department (AGP), FAO
  • Mr Simon ZBINDEN, Head of the Global Programme Food Security, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
  • Mr Younoussa MBALLO, First Technical Advisor of the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Equipment of Senegal
  • Mr Vijay Kumar THALLAM, Agricultural Advisor, Govt. of Andhra Pradesh, India
  • Ms Premila MASSE, Project Manager, GRET
  • Mr Patrick CARON, Chairperson, High Level Panel of Experts of the Committee on World Food Security

Main themes/issues discussed

The event provided insights on the implementation of agroecological transitions in developing countries implemented jointly by a wide range of stakeholders (policy makers, civil society, researchers and donors). These experiences highlighted the challenges that will have to be met and the conditions that will have to be satisfied for supporting an efficient agroecological transition.
The event also featured assessment tools and current examples of agroecological approaches scaled up through public policies at territorial and national levels, in the framework of the Scaling Up Agroecology Initiative. The event also featured a presentation of the Zero Budget Natural Farming Program in India and agroecology-related activities in Senegal.

Summary of key points

Many existing agroecological experiences are being successful in providing solutions, especially in local scales. Scaling up and scaling out agoecologically-based agriculture is still a challenge.

Agroecological systems can be improved by connecting different solutions at different scales through integrated systemic approaches. This can be achieved by enriching local knowledge with scientific advances on agroecology. The main frontiers for improvement are related to a better use of biodiversity, an enhancement of ecological processes (particularly on soil biology and health) at the service of production processes and an improvement of labour productivity.

The availability of appropriate technical knowledge has a fundamental importance for small scale farmers, specifically in developing countries. They thus need to be supported during their systems adaptation process. During the transition to agroecology, farmers, especially women and youth, need to be supported and actively participate into the development of their own solutions., with access to useful information and know-how.

Key take away messages

An agoecological transition needs to be intimately anchored in the territories where it is developed. Changes need to be supported by the main institutional stakeholders in order to create proper enabling environment for famers adopt agroecology at territorial scales, in particular by enabling local policies and proper market conditions (though specific short circuits, sustainable value chains and circular economies)

A strong collaboration between governments, international institutions, research and academia organizations, civil society organizations, and farmers is needed to strengthen evidences on agroecology’s potential to increase productivity more sustainably, to adapt production to climate change, to sustain food security and nutrition and achieve several SDGs.

CFS 46 Side Event: SE138 How to support an Agroecological Transition that sustains food security in developing countries?


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