This Working Paper on Sustainable Agriculture and Renewable Natural Resources is one of a series of 10 papers published alongside DFID's Research Strategy 2008-2013. It presents the case for DFID-funded research on Sustainable Agriculture and Renewable Natural Resources - drawing on the responses given during a global consultation that DFID convened in 2007 about its future research.
No country has ever achieved significant poverty reduction without first raising productivity in agriculture. Agriculture is not only the way the vast majority of Africans make their living but with its high multiplier affect across the wider economy, it is also the sector most capable of growing the continent's economy in the medium term.
DFID has longstanding experience in managing research in agriculture and renewable natural resources. In 2006-2007 it invested over £30 million in research on sustainable agriculture and is committed to doubling funding on agriculture, fisheries and forestry to £80 million per annum by 2010. The Department's approach is spelled out in the Strategy for Research on Sustainable Agriculture 2006-2016 (SRSA), launched in March 2006.
DFID is considered to be a major donor and thought leader on agricultural and RNR research for development, growth and poverty reduction. The consultation validated the approach and content of the SRSA, while proposing ways in which it might be expanded and improved. Nine new research themes emerged in the course of the consultation: productivity-enhancing technology; low-input farming systems; sustainability, vulnerability, risk and resilience; social protection and agriculture-based livelihoods; agriculture and climate change; water and its management; livelihood diversification; access to markets, land, growth and farmer empowerment; and natural resource management.
In the light of extensive stakeholder consultation, research to promote sustainable agriculture will remain as a central plank of DFID's economic growth agenda - reflecting its demonstrated high rates of return and impact on poverty reduction. Certain topics in the SRSA will be given renewed emphasis or re-framed to better reflect links to our broader research agenda of economic growth.
DFID will work with its partners to strengthen research in six main research areas in agriculture and renewable natural resources over the next five years: new agricultural technologies that enhance and maintain productivity levels; high-value agriculture in areas of medium to high agricultural potential; rural economies; risk, vulnerability and adaptation; markets; and managing the resource base sustainably.
Additionally, DFID will continue to support agricultural research by ensuring provides for a balance between basic science, translational and adaptive research, and programmes to get research into use.
DFID, London, UK, 26 pp.