Integrating Food Security and Agri-environmental Quality in Southern Africa: Implications for Policy uri icon


  • In many sub-Saharan African countries that experience seasonal food deficits, one of the greatest challenges is how best to integrate environmental quality into food security initiatives. However, a number of agricultural production technologies exist that offer opportunities for achieving the two seemingly divergent goals because they simultaneously contribute to food production and generate environmental services. The field level uptake of such technologies is generally low due to policy and institutional constraints, among other reasons. This chapter draws upon natural resource economics and externality theories to conceptualize an environmental economic logic for enhancing the adoption of multi-output technologies through conditional incentive systems that reward farmers for the environmental services generated by their investments in such technologies. Using agroforestry-based soil fertility technology (â??improved tree fallowsâ?�) as a case study of multi-output technologies, this chapter synthesizes studies that were carried out in southern Africa for over a decade. It then discusses how the potential impacts of technological advances attained in multi-output technologies are affected by policy and institutional constraints. The chapter concludes by identifying different options to address these constraints and facilitate uptake by farmers with a view to unlock their potential in order to satisfy both food production and global environmental services. These policy options at both national and regional levels are required to align smallholder farmersâ?? incentives with those of the society and encourage them to pay cognizance to environmental quality when making agricultural production decisions

publication date

  • 2009