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Thanks Michael for these positive comments and I will certainly read the report. Your comment on building natural capital is key to this whole question sustainable intensification. We should see our transformed agricultural production systems as a signficant part of the solution in ensuring that we stay within the safe operating space of the Earths Systems.

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Enhancing and building natural capital will be paramount. Andrew's blog post is an excellent starting point for the discussion for a qualitatively new agricultural development. I understand the important question he poses in the last paragraph includes both the nature of the new agricultural lanscape and the ways to arrive to it. Interesting discussion - and the issues are critical to agricultural development. We have been working in rural villages for the past 14 years and have identified the absolute necessity that small scale production must be part of an integrated system if it is to be sustainable and have the required impact.

We have developed an 'Integrated Village Renewal Programme". Will see if I can post the executive summary of the plan which was finalized in and which we are currently implementing. Thanks Rosemary for your comment and we would value your insights into the approach that you are implementing at a village level. I agree that smallscale agriculture is part of the solution in addressing endemic poverty in a rural setting.

Key to this is the sustainability element that is contingent on improving and maintaining natural capital. It would be great to get examples of just that, where sustainabilty and ecosystem services are being achieved. Following the release of the report, around 30 experts in this field, from academic, governmental, NGO and industrial organisations, were asked to give their comments on the report.

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More recently, a paper was published on the subject. The neologism still struggles with practicability. A respected authority needs to set the definition straight so we know where to stand. And in a very near future too, before we get confused and discredit this interesting notion. Interesting facts here. Having efforts redirected towards sustainable intensification with a keen eye on the ecological set up makes sense but i also like the component of small scale production being part and parcel of the the entire integrated system as Rosemary rightly put it.

I would also love to learn more about the "Integrated Village Renewal Programme". Thanks Cedric for your considered comments and reference to the report and Science paper both of which I have read and would encourage others. They do provide clear guidelines to what is meant by the term sustainable intensification. You do raise the issue of practicality which is paramount in this transformation and this is where there will be a need to consider trade-offs that may require a degree of compromise.


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This is an interesting blog post, Andrew. In my view, the transformation to sustainable intensification for small-scale farmers requires market mechanisms and incentives that ensure farmer buy-in. Thus public and private agencies should plan and implement approaches such as agro-forestry and conservation farming lead to higher farm productivity and link these to profitable markets.

This can translate into higher incomes that trickle down to small-scale farmers while enhancing long-term ecosystem integrity through sustainable land-use practices. Thanks Muleda for your input, it is much appreciated. You are absolutely correct in highlighting the importance of acccess to markets and a holistic approach to sustainable intensification.


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The role of the public and private sectors is paramount in this transformation, particularly as we are attempting to improve the livelihoods of those that are least able to make the investments need to bring this about. Since the global population is on the rise and all set to cross 9 billion mark by , so not many people would negate the importance of finding new ways to produce enough food to feed the world. I believe the second green revolution is actually a kind of gene revolution led by gene technolgy where we could produce more food crops on limited land.

Furthermore by doing that we can add nutritious value of staple food crops including wheat, rice, maize etc. As Dr. Borlaug also suggested the advent of gene revolution and higlighted its importance on numerous accasions so its of utmost importance to see where and how this technology could help benefit the mankind. Kaleem I do believe that gene technology will play a role in the second green revolution. However, if one considers that for this gene revolution to express itself it will be contingent on land, water and the ecosystems, the fundamental elements of our food production systems.

How we manage these resources will determine the expression of this genetic potential. Our record of managing these fundamental resources has been less than optimal. In the second green revolution, how we address the aforementioned impasse will determne whether we are able to achieve the genetic revolution. Andrew I agree with you completely.

Since we are running short of productive land day by day, so it would be extremely imperative to get maximum out of the available land and resources. Sustainable intensification!! Imagine a growing population of women, youth and men in an urbanized living a long a stretch of 3Km along the main road but inside a forest reserve it put challenge to both communities and technical people. This will encourage sustainable commercial enterprises that will change at present, the families and domestic markets supplies by such rural farmers but dangerous to the ecosystems going down from 70 per cent of global food consumption to un foreseen global markets of conserving carbon of the soil through enterprises that leave forest for conservation I appreciate if you read the book published on this issue by Samuel kalimunjaye.

This probably will not be the case in Colombia if current policies force farmers to extintion. There is not such a technical solution available for this, the solution has to tackle the roots of the problem and this is a political and in some cases purely economical. The best example I can talk is what is currently happening in Colombia.

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Even some foreign enterprises contribute to this grabbing big pieces of land in national territories. Working in water, land and ecosystems in favour of the marginalised farmers requires more than managing resources and risks. Requires human rights enforcement, agricultural policies that warrants benefit sharing of resources use, it also requires pressure to key organizations and governments to secure that there will be people in rural areas to work with.

I have the evidence of this while looking throughout my window. It is all happening outside, along the roads, near the small towns and crop areas. It is on the news too. Real situation is not really advertised since the press is in the side of the government. I feel ashame of the politicians of my country, not very different to many others that impede development and the dream of a landscape plenty with trees, bees and people.

I have just seen your blog. WLE is powerful project for upcoming generation and this blog is really improved my knowledge!! The blog on sustainable intensification calls for a new green revolution. However, in Africa the first green revolution is yet to come and there are very good reasons why it has not arrived sofar. The point is that conventional fertilizer technologies are not always appropriate for African conditions in terms of soil conditions and availability of cash. Developing new technologies that that in terms of composition and doses are fine-tuned to local conditions is likely to result in a sustainable green revolution.

Below I give a link to a very recent short paper on the issue, written on request of the German Development Cooperation organization GIZ. South Africa continues to be a major emitter of greenhouse gases with emissions that are 43 percent higher than the global average. The energy sector contributes to Today, per capita income is considered the definitive element in measuring annual economic performance. Tomorrow, for those interested in preserving the planet, per capita greenhouse gas emissions will be as important as per capita income.

That will be the paradigm of the 21st Century. The legacy of institutionalised discrimination and inequality under the apartheid regime still requires substantial efforts to be overcome. But climate action needs to be seen as integral to growth strategies. It is often the poorest and most marginalised in society who bear the brunt of a changing climate first, as we saw earlier this year with the devastating impact of Cyclone Idai in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. If South Africa remains wedded to anachronistic growth models, including an energy sector reliant on coal and other fossil fuels, its poorest citizens will suffer the most as climate change leads to greater droughts, more extreme weather events like cyclones, and renders farmlands barren.

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In South Africa and in Chile, generations of children suffered when authoritarian leaders turned our countries into dictatorships, isolating us from the rest of the world and denying our fundamental rights. Young South Africans and Chileans today live in democracies, but they still face a blighted future if current leaders do not act now to prevent ever more dramatic and damaging impacts of climate change on our societies and economies.

I believe it is time for South Africa and countries across the Global South to take the initiative and show leadership, by building climate resiliency into infrastructure investments and moving to renewable energy. It would be a grotesque injustice if these people were to be thrown on the scrapheap, as we have seen in other industrialised countries that closed their mining industries in previous decades. However, it would be equally unjust and dishonest to pretend that coal can continue to play a profitable role in the national economy.

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These trends will not reverse themselves any time soon. The Just Transition Pathways process offers the potential for such a transformation. In my experience, just as we managed the transition from dictatorship to democracy in Chile, it is critical that those who will be most affected by the change, the families that reply on coal for their income, are consulted as a core part of the process. Ethical leadership inevitably requires taking tough decisions in the knowledge that the benefits may not be truly felt until many years after the end of your own lifetime.

Nelson Mandela understood this intimately, as did the other heroes of the liberation struggle, many of whom sacrificed their lives so their children could enjoy a future of peace, justice and dignity. Sustainable economic growth, by its very definition, cannot come at the expense of our planet, nor can it result in the impoverishment of many hundreds of thousands of workers. This is an immense challenge that South Africa faces, as indeed every country in the world does. However, it is also a time of hope and resilience, not despair, as we look to invest in a future that places climate resiliency and sustainable growth side by side.

Jump to navigation. Follow Us. For South Africa, climate adaptation and economic growth can go hand in hand. Climate change. Ricardo Lagos fossil fuels sustainable development political leaders SDGs equity.

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