Type: Book

The sustainable intensification of smallholder farming systems


Dr Dominik Klauser is a Senior Program Officer at the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA) which supports resource-poor small farmers in developing countries. Dr Klauser works on identifying and scaling solutions that benefit the sustainable intensification of smallholder farming systems, such as new crop varieties, seed technologies and sustainable agronomic practices. Dr Mike Robinson is Chief Science Advisor the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA). He was formerly a Senior Technology Analyst for the Syngenta Corporate Strategy and Technology Group and has extensive experience of managing global collaborative research projects between the public and private sectors in bioscience.



Publication date:

24 November 2020

Length of book:

460 pages

ISBN-13: 9781786764300

Hardback - £180.00
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Due to a lack of understanding of the constraints they face, many projects developed to support smallholders fail with low adoption rates and limited improvements in livelihoods and food security. Greater emphasis must be placed upon successfully supporting smallholder farmers and their farming systems.

The sustainable intensification of smallholder farming systems provides a comprehensive review of recent research on effective support measures to improve the livelihoods of smallholders in sub-Saharan Africa. This collection features detailed discussions on ways to improve access to key resources, such as seeds, tools and expertise for soil health improvement and integrated pest management (IPM) programmes. A part dedicated to finance and information assesses the need to improve support systems, including farmer organisations and commercial extension services, for the benefit of particular groups of smallholders, e.g. female farmers.

Based on a wealth of practical experience from leading experts in the field, The sustainable intensification of smallholder farming systems will be a standard reference on how best to target support for smallholders to achieve real improvements in their livelihoods. It will be essential reading for university and other researchers studying smallholder farming systems in departments of agricultural science, international development, politics and development economics. It will also be a key reference for government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) involved in development programmes focussing on smallholders, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.

Key features

  • Strong coverage of improving smallholder access to key inputs, from seeds to nutrition and pest management 
  • Reviews ways of improving public and private sector extension support as well as market access for smallholders 
  • Chapter authors mix research expertise and practical experience of successful project implementation on the ground

What others are saying...

"It is fabulous to see that these distinguished experts on the intensification of smallholder farming systems bring together their years of knowledge and experience into a volume that will be accessible to all. Many strands of agricultural development expertise that are often disconnected from each other are brought together in these pages, including some of the latest evidence and approaches that can yield direct benefits to smallholder farmers."
Mark Huisenga, Senior Program Manager, USAID – US Government Bureau of Food Security

Table of contents

Part 1 Understanding smallholder farming
1.The challenges of smallholder farming: Steve Wiggins, Overseas Development Institute (ODI), UK;
2.The economics of smallholder farming: David Eagle, MEDA, Canada;

Part 2 Agricultural production
3.Improving water management for smallholders: Christopher Studer, Bern University of Applied Science, Switzerland;
4.Access to seeds for smallholders: Dominik Klauser, Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture, Switzerland;
5.Tools for pest and disease management by stakeholders: a case study on Plantwise: Washington Otieno, Willis Ochilo and Lorna Migiro, CAB International, Kenya; and Wade Jenner and Ulrich Kuhlmann, CAB International, Switzerland;
6.Tools for soil fertility management for smallholders: Bernard Vanlauwe, IITA, Kenya;
7.Access to mechanization for smallholders: Oluwole Fatunbi, FARA Africa, Ghana;

Part 3 Access to finance and information
8.Access to finance for smallholders: Nikesh Ghimere, MEDA, Canada
9.Strengthening public sector extension systems for smallholders: Felister Makini, Deputy Director General (Crops) - Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Institute (KALRO), Kenya;
10.Strengthening commercial extension systems for smallholders: Matthew Freeman, The One Acre Fund, Kenya;
11.Supporting female smallholders: Margaret Adesugba, Newcastle University, UK;

Part 4 Access to value chains
12.Improving market access for smallholders: Yanyan Liu, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), USA;
13.Incentivizing sustainable production practices: Christine Negra, Versant Vision, USA;
14.The role and the challenges of the private sector in working with smallholders (focus on input): John Derera, SeedCo, Zambia;
15.The role and the challenges of the private sector in working with smallholders (focus on output): John Logan, Technoserve, Kenya;