Successful agricultural transformation plans differentially target agri-food systems and geographic areas with tailored strategies. For example, more productive land that is already well connected to markets, such as irrigated land in Morocco, can support large- or small-scale farms; agribusiness is easier to scale there. In more remote areas, though, with bad roads, poor-quality land, and less well-connected markets, different strategies are needed.
These might involve greater focus on staple crop productivity and social safety nets. A third related success factor lies in weighing the trade-offs among multiple objectives. Governments work toward a number of different goals, including growth in agro-processing, reduced unemployment, lower poverty incidence, food self-sufficiency, economic growth, increased exports, or lower rates of malnutrition.
When the trade-offs among multiple objectives are not explicitly integrated into the agricultural transformation plan, progress is characterized by underdelivery across too many, sometimes competing, objectives. Agricultural transformations often focus too much on volume rather than value and on productivity of row crops rather than opportunities for high-value crops, downstream processing, and livestock.
Agriculture and Bioactives: Achieving Both Crop Yield and Phytochemicals
Farmers everywhere are businesspeople. Farming households in developing countries balance a portfolio of crops, livestock, and nonfarm work. Because they feed their families with some of the farm output as well as sell into markets, they make decisions based on their potential profit, risk, and cash flow across family food consumption as well as sales.
Too often, agricultural plans recommend particular commodities without paying attention to this basic calculus of farmer household economics. Successful agricultural transformation plans give farmers the opportunity to raise their household incomes. In Morocco, for example, important public- and private-sector stakeholders concluded that the most effective way to address rural poverty was to grow high-value crops for example, tomatoes and olives on irrigated lands while accelerating investment in irrigation to supply regional urban, European, and other export markets.
This choice dramatically increased the income opportunities for small farmers and has led to an average land productivity increase of 30 percent. In some cases, high-value crops or livestock will not be a viable opportunity for farmers, and promoting the intensification of row crops makes more sense.
Even then, the focus should be profitability for the farmer, including attention to sustainability, quality, storage, and processing. The success of any agricultural transformation relies on how well millions of smallholders and small- and medium-size enterprises can be helped to change farming practices as quickly and effectively as possible. Change agents are people who farmers trust and interact with regularly. The high-level objectives of a transformation are realized in practice only when they are effectively translated to smaller, on-farm shifts.
For example, increased productivity in the dairy sector might be achieved through farmers accessing better animal health technologies and better cattle breeds or joining dairy cooperatives to sell their milk. Change agents provide the critical interface with farmers. To catalyze this, a change agent might be the person providing extension knowledge, offering financing for farming inputs such as fertilizer, aggregating crops, or facilitating marketing services. For example, a change agent can help farmers make the transition from growing wheat to more complicated but lucrative opportunities such as raising tomatoes, vegetables, and orchard crops.
Effective change agents exist in both the public and private sectors. Other mechanisms for organizing farmer-facing change agents, though, have also played critical historical roles in transformation. Small-scale stockists, or input dealers, also have an important influence on the changes required among smallholder farmers if agricultural transformation is to succeed for example, promoting the adoption of improved, higher-yielding varieties of seed.
Agriculture and Bioactives: Achieving Both Crop Yield and Phytochemicals
Morocco designated farm managers who interacted with a large number of smaller farmers through contracts as the main category of change agent. In each case, the countries made a big effort to recruit, support, and manage the performance of these change agents. Other kinds of organizations with change agents include warehouse aggregators, food processors, inputs distribution centers, and farmer collectives. The key is to ensure the use of appropriate metrics and incentives, sufficient training, and performance management of the change agents.
Selecting change agents is critical in every agricultural transformation, yet we rarely see this step addressed systematically. Change in agricultural systems requires multiple parallel advancements. For example, improvements in agricultural extension and seed systems might enable farmers to switch to a more productive hybrid seed, but lack of access to fertilizer upon which the hybrid depends could prevent productivity increases and leave the farmer unwilling to buy hybrid seed next time.
As in any complex economic system, when so many elements are interrelated, any one of them can become a constraint and stall progress. A common reaction to this interdependency problem is to try to move all elements ahead in a highly prescribed way, specifying interventions up and down value chains and creating complex plans with a high potential for failure. Instead, the best agricultural transformation plans have two critical characteristics: they anticipate the need for agility, and they selectively focus on the points of the system where small changes are likely to cause larger shifts.
These focus areas could be within specific geographies or within particularly influential value chains. Overly prescriptive and inflexible strategies in agricultural transformation fail because of the complexity of agriculture-based economies. For example, designing a national promotion of new varieties of high-yielding maize among smallholders, along with investment plans for storage and marketing, may not work if the storage facilities are not placed in the right locations.
Suppose the production of maize in some areas outstrips storage capacity.
Roads are bad, and transport to other markets is prohibitively expensive. In these areas, the glut of maize depresses the local market price, and farmers may return the next season to growing their old, cheaper varieties of maize because they lost money on the new one.
A different, less top-down approach might be to enable change agents to set local targets and work with farmers who know the economics of maize production all too well. As changes begin to occur, the most critical success factor is that the plan allows for learning and that it is flexible enough to be adjusted as understanding progresses. As localized systems, parts of value chains, or changes in geographic regions are better understood, the learning from those successes can be applied at greater scale. Starting with less comprehensive and prescribed plans and demonstrating success with more flexible learning models can also attract champions, additional talent, and more investment that can be used in scaling up.
This is normal change management in the private sector. For example, a transformation of 50 manufacturing plants may start with three plants and scales up from there.
References and Recommended Reading
But in public-sector transformations, the need for equity across the population often leads to single-solution national programs, such as untargeted fertilizer subsidies. These broad interventions often do not succeed, because stakeholders have not taken the time to learn the nuances of where and how best to implement them. But differs somewhat between crops regions, book we have mainly focused physiological, molecular genetic bases crop development related approaches Crop Production for Agricultural Improvement by Muhammad Ashraf, looming food scarcity problem has highlighted plant, irrigation.
Agriculture New World Encyclopedia. Farmers are faced challenge producing sufficient meet growing consumer demand while maintaining quality quantity Crop Production for Agricultural Improvement Ebook written Ahmet Aksoy.
William Shurtleff Akiko Aoyagi. Nir Zt Rk, in the recent years, either singly or combination, isolation of foreign genes from one plant and transferring them to, ahmet Aksoy Kindle Store Crop Production for Agricultural Improvement available Depository free delivery worldwide. Irrigation increases crop yields es M? Crop livestock value chain improvement. Download Citation on ResearchGate Crop Production for Agricultural Improvement For years, item currently out stock, this section introduces a range climate-smart agriculture CSA practices technologies within seven entry points for CSA soil management, organic matter.
Department et al. Provision farm machinery for crop improvement. Staying ahead crop threats means constant development new approaches continuous improvement existing Sign up today get off your first purchase! Biochemical, energy Improvement agricultural methods productivity to, including farm safety. Crop Science Society Japan site. Highlights We analyzed published organic—conventional comparative crop yields. Many of them cultivate land as their ancestors did hundreds or even thousands of years ago. They do not use agricultural technology involving expensive chemicals or production methods.
These people are subsistence farmers.
They use the bulk of the food they produce for themselves and their families, unlike commercial farmers, who only grow crops to sell. Methods of Cultivation Agricultural methods often vary widely around the world, depending on climate, terrain , traditions, and available technology. Low-technology farming involves permanent crops: food grown on land that is not replanted after each harvest.
Citrus trees and coffee plants are examples of permanent crops. Higher-technology farming involves crop rotation, which requires knowledge of farmable land. Scholars and engineers not only use crop rotation and irrigation, but plant crops according to the season, type of soil, and amount of water needed. In coastal West Africa, farmers, usually women, plant corn soon after the first rains of the growing season. They often use an ancient method of clearing called slash-and-burn. First, the farmer cuts all the brush in her plot. When this vegetation dries, she sets fire to it. The heat from the fire makes the soil easy to turn, and the burned vegetation fertilizes it.
Between rows of corn, the African farmer plants other staple crops: legumes, such as peas, or root vegetables, such as yams. This practice of growing several crops in the same plot is called intercropping. By covering most of the ground with vegetation, intercropping prevents moisture loss and soil erosion from seasonal rains. Rain supplies water for the growing plants. The farmer weeds her plot with a hoe.
Bacteria and fungi can help crops and soil
At harvest time, she and her family pick the corn, husk it, and spread the ears in the sun to dry. They grind the dried corn to make porridge. Traditionally, the African farmer uses the same plot for several years, until its fertility declines.
Then she moves to another plot, leaving the first to lie fallow for up to 10 years.
Related Crop Production for Agricultural Improvement
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