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Papers - The sustainability of agricultural production is regaining importance, particularly in view of the predicted population increase. Terms such as “sustainable production intensification” are widely discussed within the global development agenda. In the area of agricultural crop production one term – no-till – is leading to increased polemic and polarization of the parties. No-till or no-tillage describes a form of cropping which does not use mechanical tillage of the soil for crop establishment. Mechanical tillage, a standard operation in agriculture since ancient times, is mostly symbolized by the use of the plough. Where ever it has been practiced, it has led...
Technical guidelines - Future food security relies not only on higher production and access to food but also on the need to address the destructive effects of current agricultural production systems on ecosystem services and increase the resilience of production systems to the effects of climate change. CA addresses the problem of low and erratic rainfall through the use of practices that reduce water losses and increase infiltration, and low soil nutrient status by increasing soil carbon and nitrogen through the use of organic soil cover and legumes in rotations and interactions. CA enables the sustainable intensification of agriculture by conserving and enhancing the quality of the soil, leading to higher yields and...
Publications - With the publication of Save and Grow in 2011, FAO proposed a new paradigm of intensive crop production, one that is both highly productive and environmentally sustainable. FAO recognized that, over the past half-century, agriculture based on the intensive use of inputs has increased global food production and average per capita food consumption. In the process, however, it has depleted the natural resources of many agro-ecosystems, jeopardizing future productivity, and added to the greenhouse gases responsible for climate change. Moreover, it has not significantly reduced the number of chronically hungry, which is currently estimated at 870 million people. The challenge is to place food production and consumption on a truly sustainable...
Technical guidelines - The objective of this publication is to offer a reference material for extensionists, professors, agronomy students, technicians in general, and for farmers themselves. Through information that is up-to-date and richly illustrated, it strives to facilitate the adoption and diffusion of No-Tillage, the use of green manures, and the practice of crop rotation on small farms. The publication describes the principal species of green manures and, at the same time, informs in detail how to insert green manures into small farm production systems according to soil fertility and major crops. It also deals with the residual effect of green manures on main crops and analyzes the economic implications of these practices.
Technical guidelines - Lesotho is a small mountainous country characterized by extensive land degradation and erratic climatic conditions. In recent years a growing number of development agencies have been promoting conservation agriculture (CA) as a means to enhance rural livelihoods through sustainable production intensification. The present case study prepared under the AGP Framework for Sustainable Crop Production Intensification draws on the data collected by FAO in 2006 and illustrates the impact of CA and  more specifically the local version of CA, the likoti-system, on sustainable crop intensification in the south-eastern highlands of Qacha’s Nek district and in the western lowlands of Butha-Buthe and Berea. According to these data, the adoption of likoti has brought about...
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