NSP - Compendium for Sustainable Crop Production Intensification

Sustainable Crop Production Intensification

The need to feed a growing population is a constant pressure on crop production, as is coping with an increasingly degraded environment and uncertainties resulting from climate change - and the need to adapt farming systems to these. Sustainable crop production intensification provides opportunities for optimizing crop production per unit area, taking into consideration the range of sustainability aspects including potential and/or real social, political, economic and environmental impacts. Recent trends would indicate that the incorporation of scientific principles of ecosystem management into farming practices can enhance crop production (yield).  Sustainable intensification, based on the ecosystem approach to enhance crop production, aims to maximize options for crop production intensification through the management of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Practices that are promoted by FAO, based on biological processes and aimed at intensifying productivity while dealing with global changes, such as climate change,  include:


Conservation Agriculture
Integrated Pest Management
Pollinator Management
Agricultural Biodiversity
Integrated Nutrient Management
Integrated Crop Livestock Systems
Management of Seed Systems
Agriculture and Climate Change
Management of Soil Biodiversity
Integrated Weed Management
Management of Grassland and Pasture areas
Markets and Livelihoods


Sustainable intensification of crop production is Strategic Objective A of FAO. Through this Strategic Objective, FAO provides member countries technologies, policies, knowledge, information and capacity building so they can increase their crop productivity and profitability in perpetuity. This is achieved through: production systems and crop management technologies that increase productivity without adverse effect on natural resources, enhance climate change resilience and input-use efficiency, and create enabling environment so farmers can competitively participate in markets; eco-friendly reduction in field and post-harvest losses from abiotic and biotic stresses; and conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for development of improved crop varieties and their deployment through pro-smallholder seed systems. AGP promotes crop production intensification using the ecosystem approach, including technical and policy considerations in four key dimensions:

       a)  Increasing agricultural productivity

       b)  Enhancing sustainable crop protection

       c)  Managing biodiversity and ecosystem services

Sustainable Crop Production Intensification

Core Themes