Sustainable Agricultural Intensification and Climate Smart Agricultural Practices for Improved Food and Climate Security


Vara Prasad PV

Distinguished Professor and Director, R.O. Kruse Endowed Professor
Feed the Future Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas 66506, USA.
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Volume 15(Special Issue), 2022   ;   Click here for Pdf



The grand challenge of increasing production and access to nutritious and safe food to meet growing populations under threat to climate change and climate variability requires systems and transdisciplinary approaches towards agri-food systems. Sustainable agricultural intensification (SAI) focuses on increasing agricultural production from existing farmland without any adverse environmental impacts. There are three major components of SAI which include: (i) genetic intensification (e.g., focused on improving yields, resistance to pests and diseases, tolerance to abiotic stresses, increasing nutritional quality of food products, and using precision breeding, genetics, and genomics tools); (ii) ecological intensification (e.g., focused increasing diversification, farming, cropping and agroforestry systems, resource use efficiency, integrated water, nutrient and pest management); and (iii) socio-economic intensification (e.g., focused on markets, value addition, income generation, policy, creating enabling environment, and building social capital). Climate-smart agricultural (CSA) practices emphasize greenhouse gas emissions, water footprint, and focus on both adaptation and mitigation strategies. Few selected SAI and CSA practices include minimum and no-tillage; cover crops; crop diversity and genotypes selection for effective water use and stress tolerance; diversification (crop mixtures and rotations; perennials, agroforestry systems; forage crops; dual purpose crops); and nutrient recycling from livestock. Overall, developing adoption and scaling of these practices will require convergence of biophysical and social sciences, participatory approaches, public and private sector engagement and commitment of resources from all donor agencies for research and development, human and institutional capacity building.