Sustainable Intensification: Trade-offs for Agricultural Management

Home|Sustainable Intensification: Trade-offs for Agricultural Management

SITAM (Sustainable Intensification: Trade-offs for Agricultural Management) was an action research project seeking to understand how smallholder farmers in Africa manage the trade-offs between production, sustainability, and other socioeconomic and environmental factors. Smallholder farmers in Ghana face a constant challenge: to choose between many, often competing, social, economic and environmental objectives while also meeting expectations to intensify their farming practices sustainably and produce ‘more with less’. Farmers manage this situation by making trade-offs; choosing and prioritizing goals based on household circumstances and by weighing immediate productivity/financial gains against long-term goals. The Sustainable Intensification Trade-offs for Agricultural Management (SITAM) project aimed to address the challenges and opportunities of smallholder farmers, specifically resource-poor farmers and women farmers, in managing the trade-offs between production, sustainability and other socioeconomic and environmental factors. This dilemma has been well studied and documented in the context of agricultural development and natural resource management. By understanding the specific challenges for small farmers, it was possible to identify entry points for interventions that can support farmers in making ‘better’ trade-off decisions, that strengthen, rather than weaken sustainable intensification. SITAM was part of a DFID-funded research programme, Sustainable Agricultural Intensification Research and Learning in Africa (SAIRLA), that addressed sustainable intensification through eight research projects in six sub-Saharan African countries. The project conducted a three-year (2016-2019) research study on smallholder farmers’ decision making in relation to sustainable agricultural intensification (SAI) in the Guinea Savannah Zone of Ghana’s Upper West  Region. The SITAM project was funded by the Sustainable Agricultural Intensification Research and Learning in Africa (SAIRLA) programme. The SAIRLA programme was funded by the UK Department for International Development and managed by WYG International Ltd and the Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich. The SAIRLA programme sought to generate evidence and design tools to enable governments, investors and other key actors to deliver more effective policies and investments in sustainable agricultural intensification that strengthen the capacity of poorer farmers, especially women and youth, to access and benefit from sustainable intensification in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia.

Read More On Sitam