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New perennial grains in African smallholder agriculture from a farming systems perspective. A review

Isgren, Ellinor LU ; Andersson, Elina LU and Carton, Wim LU (2020) In Agronomy for Sustainable Development 40(1).
Abstract
Perennial grain crops are gaining increased attention from researchers as one possible solution to agriculture’s many sustainability challenges. In the Sub-Saharan African context, perennial varieties of crops such as sorghum, rice, and pigeon pea have potential to provide numerous benefits for smallholder farmers. The introduction and adoption of new crops and practices is however a complex process that needs to be approached from an interdisciplinary and participatory perspective. We here review the small but growing body of knowledge about on-farm adoption and the use of perennial grains around the world, as well as the more extensive literature of farming systems research. We conclude that a farming systems approach offers a fruitful... (More)
Perennial grain crops are gaining increased attention from researchers as one possible solution to agriculture’s many sustainability challenges. In the Sub-Saharan African context, perennial varieties of crops such as sorghum, rice, and pigeon pea have potential to provide numerous benefits for smallholder farmers. The introduction and adoption of new crops and practices is however a complex process that needs to be approached from an interdisciplinary and participatory perspective. We here review the small but growing body of knowledge about on-farm adoption and the use of perennial grains around the world, as well as the more extensive literature of farming systems research. We conclude that a farming systems approach offers a fruitful entry point for informing the emerging research agenda around perennial grains in African smallholder agriculture. Yet, a comprehensive understanding of the potentials and challenges of perennial grains also requires cross-scalar analysis capable of looking beyond the farming system. We thus outline five key considerations for developing and studying new perennial grains in smallholder contexts, i.e., (1) smallholder farming systems are complex, diverse, and locally adapted; (2) decision-making is shaped by various resource constraints; (3) farming is often “semi-subsistence” and forms part of broader livelihood strategies, wherein risk is an important factor; (4) gender relations and roles influence many aspects of smallholder farming systems; and (5) analyses of farmers’ production systems, decision-making, and livelihood strategies must be embedded within a broader political-economic context. Based on these considerations, we suggest directions and examples of key questions for future research and derive methodological implications for how such research could be approached. (Less)
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author
; and
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Perennial crops, Farming systems, Smallholders, Technology adoption, Sub-Saharan Africa, Sorghum, Pigeon pea, Rice, Sustainability
in
Agronomy for Sustainable Development
volume
40
issue
1
article number
6
pages
14 pages
publisher
Springer Science + Business Media
external identifiers
  • scopus:85079638755
ISSN
1773-0155
DOI
10.1007/s13593-020-0609-8
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
0dc387ad-c5fd-466a-ac54-553300385834
date added to LUP
2020-02-19 17:13:37
date last changed
2020-12-29 03:59:17
@article{0dc387ad-c5fd-466a-ac54-553300385834,
  abstract     = {Perennial grain crops are gaining increased attention from researchers as one possible solution to agriculture’s many sustainability challenges. In the Sub-Saharan African context, perennial varieties of crops such as sorghum, rice, and pigeon pea have potential to provide numerous benefits for smallholder farmers. The introduction and adoption of new crops and practices is however a complex process that needs to be approached from an interdisciplinary and participatory perspective. We here review the small but growing body of knowledge about on-farm adoption and the use of perennial grains around the world, as well as the more extensive literature of farming systems research. We conclude that a farming systems approach offers a fruitful entry point for informing the emerging research agenda around perennial grains in African smallholder agriculture. Yet, a comprehensive understanding of the potentials and challenges of perennial grains also requires cross-scalar analysis capable of looking beyond the farming system. We thus outline five key considerations for developing and studying new perennial grains in smallholder contexts, i.e., (1) smallholder farming systems are complex, diverse, and locally adapted; (2) decision-making is shaped by various resource constraints; (3) farming is often “semi-subsistence” and forms part of broader livelihood strategies, wherein risk is an important factor; (4) gender relations and roles influence many aspects of smallholder farming systems; and (5) analyses of farmers’ production systems, decision-making, and livelihood strategies must be embedded within a broader political-economic context. Based on these considerations, we suggest directions and examples of key questions for future research and derive methodological implications for how such research could be approached.},
  author       = {Isgren, Ellinor and Andersson, Elina and Carton, Wim},
  issn         = {1773-0155},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {02},
  number       = {1},
  publisher    = {Springer Science + Business Media},
  series       = {Agronomy for Sustainable Development},
  title        = {New perennial grains in African smallholder agriculture from a farming systems perspective. A review},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13593-020-0609-8},
  doi          = {10.1007/s13593-020-0609-8},
  volume       = {40},
  year         = {2020},
}