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Beyond the agroecological and sustainable agricultural intensification debate: is blended sustainability the way forward?

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  • Mockshell, Jonathan
  • Kamanda, Josey Ondieki

Abstract

With the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has come a renewed global interest in ending hunger, achieving food security and preventing natural resource degradation. Despite this renewed interest and increased commitments to invest in agricultural development, there is an ongoing debate over the pathways to sustainability. The debate centres on sustainable agricultural intensification (SAI) and agroecological intensification (AEI) pathways to agricultural sustainability. Using a systematic literature review approach, this study examines the debate over AEI and SAI. This study employs a theoretical framework based on the economic, social, and ecological dimensions of sustainable agriculture within a policy and institutional space. Based on the sustainability dimensions, a discourse analytical technique is applied to unravel the debate. The results reveal that proponents of the SAI pathway are predominantly private sector actors, while support for the AEI pathway comes mainly from international donors, NGOs and civil society actors. Both pathways aim to promote food security; however, the actors differ on discourse relating to the concept of farming, the role of GMOs, the scale of operation, and land use, as well as views on the social, economic, and ecological dimensions of sustainability. Resolving these differences requires a blended sustainability approach that moves beyond the current AEI and SAI debate by acknowledging the tradeoffs and synergies of the socio-economic and ecological dimensions of the different pathways to sustainability. Knowledge platforms will support this shift, and an enabling policy and institutional environment will provide the right incentives to promote sustainable agriculture.

Suggested Citation

  • Mockshell, Jonathan & Kamanda, Josey Ondieki, 2017. "Beyond the agroecological and sustainable agricultural intensification debate: is blended sustainability the way forward?," Discussion Papers 16/2017, German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:diedps:162017
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    Cited by:

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    3. Jan Van der Lee & Laurens Klerkx & Bockline Omedo Bebe & Ashenafi Mengistu & Simon Oosting, 2018. "Intensification and Upgrading Dynamics in Emerging Dairy Clusters in the East African Highlands," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(11), pages 1-24, November.
    4. Brandi, Clara, 2017. "Handel und Umweltschutz: Chancen und Risiken," Discussion Papers 22/2017, German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE).
    5. Hillary Mugiyo & Vimbayi G. P. Chimonyo & Mbulisi Sibanda & Richard Kunz & Cecilia R. Masemola & Albert T. Modi & Tafadzwanashe Mabhaudhi, 2021. "Evaluation of Land Suitability Methods with Reference to Neglected and Underutilised Crop Species: A Scoping Review," Land, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(2), pages 1-24, January.
    6. Altenburg, Tilman, 2017. "Arbeitsplatzoffensive für Afrika," Discussion Papers 23/2017, German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE).
    7. Béné, Christophe & Oosterveer, Peter & Lamotte, Lea & Brouwer, Inge D. & de Haan, Stef & Prager, Steve D. & Talsma, Elise F. & Khoury, Colin K., 2019. "When food systems meet sustainability – Current narratives and implications for actions," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 116-130.
    8. Li, Xiaoyun, 2017. "Should China join the GPEDC? The prospects for China and the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation," Discussion Papers 17/2017, German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE).

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