Save and Grow addresses the crop production dimension of sustainable food management. In essence, it calls for “greening” the Green Revolution through an ecosystem approach that draws on nature’s contributions to crop growth, such as soil organic matter, water flow regulation, pollination and bio-control of insect pests and diseases.
This guide offers a rich toolkit of relevant, adoptable and adaptable ecosystembased practices that can help the world’s 500 million smallholder farm families to achieve higher productivity, profitability and resource use efficiency, while enhancing natural capital.
This guide is divided in 7 chapters:
- The challenge: To feed a growing world population, we have no option but to intensify crop production. But farmers face unprecedented constraints. In order to grow, agriculture must learn to save.
- Farming systems: Crop production intensification will be built on farming systems that offer a range of productivity, socio-economic and environmental benefits to producers and to society at large.
- Soil health: Agriculture must, literally, return to its roots by rediscovering the importance of healthy soil, drawing on natural sources of plant nutrition, and using mineral fertilizer wisely
- Crops and varieties: Farmers will need a genetically diverse portfolio of improved crop varieties that are suited to a range of agro-ecosystems and farming practices, and resilient to climate change.
- Water management: Sustainable intensification requires smarter, precision technologies for irrigation and farming practices that use ecosystem approaches to conserve water.
- Plant protection: Pesticides kill pests, but also pests’ natural enemies, and their overuse can harm farmers, consumers and the environment. The first line of defence is a healthy agro-ecosystem.
- Policies and institutions: To encourage smallholders to adopt sustainable crop production intensification, fundamental changes are needed in agricultural development policies and institutions.