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Understanding the Sustainable Intensification of Agriculture

One of the best definitions of sustainable intensification is that articulated by the Montpellier Panel in which they propose that:

“Sustainable Intensification is about producing more outputs with more efficient use of all inputs – on a durable basis – while reducing environmental damage and building resilience, natural capital and the flow of environmental services” – thus contributing to the delivery and maintenance of a range of public goods [1].

This captures many of the key aspects of sustainable intensification that we seek to examine within our research program – to which we would also add key aspects of socio-economic well-being such as income-generation, nutrition and food security. Sustainable intensification should also offer economically-viable and rewarding alternatives to farmers, such that they can engage in financially sustainable enterprises that can sustain their livelihoods and well-being. In common with many of our partners in the CGIAR and the wider community concerned with the sustainable development of agriculture, we also seek outcomes that are equitable for men and women and which can offer small-scale farmers a viable and rewarding set of alternative practices, as well.