Sustainable Intensification, Community, and the Montpellier Panel: A Meta-analysis of Rhetoric in Practice in Sub-Saharan Africa
AbstractAgriculture-led economic development, an important policy driver in sub-Saharan Africa, requires both agricultural intensification and environmentally sustainable resource management. Sustainable Intensification (SI) provides a mechanism for achieving both. However, SI within an SSA context has yet to be widely examined in the scholarly literature; it has been confined instead to technical briefs and white papers. This meta-analysis, conducted in 2015, examines 58 articles that focus on SI in SSA published between 2001 and 2015 and listed in prominent research databases (EBSCOhost, Agricola, and Google Scholar). This analysis uses the 2013 Montpellier Framework for Sustainable Intensification (Agriculture for Impact, 2013) to examine, critique, and find avenues for improvement in research within this emerging body of literature. Generally, the literature adheres to major concepts within the Montpellier framework, with the exception of community. Despite the prominence of community within the Montepellier framework, incorporation of community processes was often accidental. This analysis also reveals that major components of SI, such as nutrition, food security, and income, are poorly operationalized and make an assessment of SI’s impact on socio-economic conditions and nutrition problematic. Based on this meta-analysis, the need for interdisciplinary engagement (a blending of biophysical and social scientists) is clear. Additionally, there is a demonstrable need for the inclusion of measurable concepts of community within SI processes or outcomes.
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