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:

466 pages

ISBN-13: 9781786764300

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"The sustainable intensification of smallholder farming systems is a standard reference on how best to target support for smallholders to achieve real improvements in their livelihoods."(IITA – Cassava Matters)

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.

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, UK;
2.The economics of smallholder farming: David Eagle and Nadira Saleh, Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), Canada;

Part 2 Agricultural production
3.Water management for rainfed smallholder farming: Christoph Studer, Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH), Switzerland;
4.Smallholder seed systems for sustainability: Ian Barker, International Potato Center (CIP), UK; Richard Jones, formerly AGRA-SSTP, Kenya; and 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.Improving integrated soil fertility management (ISFM) by smallholders: B. Vanlauwe, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Kenya;
7.Access to mechanization for smallholder farmers in Africa: O. A. Fatunbi and R. Kombat, Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), Ghana;

Part 3 Access to finance and information
8.Financial services for smallholders: Nikesh Ghimire, Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), Canada
9.Strengthening public-sector extension systems for smallholder farmers in Kenya: Charles Nkonge, David Kamau and Felister Makini, Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Institute (KALRO), Kenya;
10.Strengthening commercial extension systems for smallholders: Matthew Freeman and Wanjiku Mungai, 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, Nicholas Minot and Mengying Wang, International Food Policy Research Institute, USA;
13.Incentivizing sustainable production practices: improving and scaling extension, certification, carbon markets and other incentive systems: Christine Negra, Versant Vision LLC, USA; and Tanja Havemann, Clarmondial AG, Switzerland;
14.The role and challenges of the private sector in supplying inputs to smallholders: John Derera, Seed Co Group, Zimbabwe; and Joyce Gikera, Qualibasic Seed Ltd, Kenya;
15.The role and challenges of the private sector in enabling market access for smallholders: John Logan, TechnoServe, Kenya;