Agroecology for sustainable food systems

The challenge

Small-scale producers, their families and communities, are struggling against hunger and food insecurity caused by unsustainable food systems. An estimated 3 billion people could not afford a healthy and diversified diet in 2017. Poor diets and malnutrition, accompanied by the climate crisis, biodiversity loss, natural resource degradation and ecosystem fragility, are challenging current food systems and require a bold transformation.

The opportunity

Agroecology is a promising integrated and holistic approach to achieving food systems transformation, systemically addressing the issues related to food and agricultural production and commercialization systems within an enabling political environment. Agroecological practices are increasingly adopted by producer organizations, including family farmers, peasants, Indigenous Peoples and traditional communities, to sustainably conserve and protect biodiversity and natural resources, develop knowledge through co-creation and sharing, and improve governance.

Defined by the 10 Elements of Agroeoclogy agroecological approaches empower small-scale producers, in particular women and youth, strengthening their participation in the shaping of sustainable food systems.

Around 60 per cent of all IFAD projects completing between 2018 and 2023 implement agroecological practices at the farm, landscape, market and policy levels. They are often linked to climate change adaptation and mitigation initiatives promoted through IFAD’s Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme.

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