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functions required for achieving sustainable agricultural systems that span biophysical, socioeconomic and cultural diversity. The consequences of population growth and economic expansion have been a reduced resource base for future agriculture; now there are pressing needs for new agricultural land and water resources. In recent decades the development of integrated pest/water/nutrient management practices, crop/livestock systems, and crop/legume mixtures has contributed greatly to increased agricultural sustainability, but further progress is needed, especially to combat declining soil fertility. While fertilizer amendments restore fertility efficiently, many poor farmers are without the means to buy fertilizers. Consequently they suffer from a "yield gap" (the difference between crop yield potential and yield achieved). Agroforestry offers them a partial solution: biological nitrogen-fixation by leguminous trees/shrubs and crops can substantially increase crop yields. The integration of trees into field systems and by replanting watersheds, riparian and contour strips, also diversifies and rehabilitates the farming system, restoring soil organic matter, sequestering carbon in the biomass, improving water percolation and microclimate, reducing radiation losses to the atmosphere, and promoting biodiversity through the development of an agroecological succession. There are many indigenous tree species that have the potential to play these important ecological roles and also produce marketable food, fodder, and nonfood products. In this way, the ecological services traditionally obtained by long periods of unproductive fallow are provided by productive agroforests yielding a wide range of food and nonfood products. Some of these tree species are currently the subject of participatory domestication programs using local knowledge. Domestication is aimed at promoting food sovereignty, generating income and employment and enhancing nutritional benefits. Consequently, this approach brings together AKST with traditional knowledge as an integrated package capable of helping to meet development and sustainability goals.

6. Sustainable agriculture is more complex and knowledge intensive than ever before, covering sociocultural, ecological and economic dimensions. To be effective at using AKST to meet development and sustainability goals requires a wide range of actors and partnerships, and arrangements that realize the synergies between different forms of agriculture; between agriculture and other sectors; between different disciplines and between local and global organizations. Examples of measures that have contributed to realizing synergies include:

  • the development of international regulatory frameworks on IPR, trade, and the environment.
  • processes.
  • linking multiple sources of knowledge created through the engagement of multiple stakeholders in AKST processes, including farmer organizations, civil society groups, the private sector and policy makers, as well as public sector organizations.

There is a growing recognition that the institutional, policy, financial, infrastructural and market conditions required for AKST to help meet development and sustainability goals are an intrinsic part of innovation processes. This has


encouraged a growing emphasis on forging partnerships and linkages, which is beginning to have positive results. Much remains to be learned about the effective development and functioning of these partnerships to create an effective combination of different disciplines and knowledge traditions; overcome the separation of formal organizations involved in AKST and to institutionalize broader consultation processes among stakeholders with diverse interests, professional and organizational cultures, funding arrangements and capacity.

7. Since the mid-20th Century, there have been two relatively independent pathways to agricultural development: globalization and localization. Globalization, which initiated in developed countries, has dominated formal AKST and has been driven by public sector agricultural research, international trade and marketing policy. Localization has come from civil society and has involved locally based innovations, including value-addition, that meet the needs of local people and communities. Localization addresses the integration of social and environmental issues with agricultural production, but has lacked a range of market and policy linkages in support of new products and opportunities. Some current initiatives are drawing the two pathways together through public/private partnerships (e.g., fair-trade tea/coffee, forestry out-growers) involving global companies and local communities in the implementation of new regulatory frameworks and agreements that offering new paradigms for economic growth and development. Mobilizing and scaling up locally appropriate AKST in ways that integrate agricultural production with economic, social and environmental sustainability, permits localization and globalization to play complementary roles.

3.1 Methodology

The goals of this Assessment reflect an evolution of the concept of agriculture from a strong technology-oriented approach at the start of the Green Revolution to today's more human and environment-oriented paradigm. Assessing the biophysical impacts of AKST is simpler than assessing the social impacts, because of differences in complexity, and the greater emphasis on agronomic research, much of which has been on-station, rather than on-farm. This evolution of agriculture is reflected in the expansion of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR, including centers with a greater focus on natural resources systems, and more recently, on holistic and integrated approaches, including the livelihoods of poor farmers. This integration of technological advances with socially and environmentally sensitive approaches has not occurred uniformly across all sectors of AKST.

     The preparation of this Chapter started with a review of the international literature (journals, conference proceedings, the reports of many and various organizations from international and nongovernmental development agencies, international conventions and development projects, and the internet). The information from this literature was then used to develop statements about the impacts and sustainability of AKST in the context of development and sustainability goals (see Chapter 1).