By Mike Listman/CIMMYT
Future food and nutrition security is threatened by climate change, overexploitation of natural resources, and pervasive social inequalities. Promising solutions are often technology-focused and not necessarily developed considering gender and social disparities. A new paper by CIMMYT’s Tina Beuchelt and Lone Badstue (Open access in Food Security, DOI 10.1007/s12571- 013-0290-8) examines and addresses these issues for conservation agriculture as part of a cropping system with nutrition- and climate-smart potential, based on leading literature and field experience in Zambia and Mexico.
Findings point to situations where the promotion of conservation agriculture for smallholders may have undesired effects relating to drudgery, nutrition and food security, residue use, assets, mechanization, and extension. The paper closes with a discussion of opportunities and pathways to mitigate these trade-offs, including gender transformative approaches, engagement with alternative or nontraditional partners with different but complementary perspectives and strengths, “smart” combinations of technologies and approaches, and policies for inclusive development.