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Publication | 2022

Agroecological practices supporting food production and reducing food insecurity in developing countries - Volume 2

This report represents a second step in structuring existing knowledge about agroecology as farming and food system in support of the EC Knowledge Centre on Food and Nutrition Security ( It complements the report “Agroecological practices supporting food production and reducing food insecurity in developing countries” (Paracchini et al., 2020) in which scientific literature has been screened, selected and synthesized for 17 developing countries. An identical protocol has been applied to a new set of nine countries (Bolivia, Burundi, Cameroon, Colombia, Cote d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Uganda). For this second report, 106 documents have been synthesised, country briefs have been prepared, and some general conclusions have been drawn. In total, agroecological practices have been analysed in 26 developing countries on the basis of 278 selected documents (papers and reports) which have been synthesized and used to derive country-specific and general conclusions.

In Burundi, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Nigeria, Uganda most of the crops grown were staple crops and, particularly in agroforestry systems, cash crops. In these systems, cocoa and coffee production was important for international markets.

In Colombia and Bolivia most of the common traditional production system is based on maize intercropped with other species, such as beans, squashes or potatoes. The system is integrated by a great diversity of crops, trees (e.g. agroforestry), and animal breeding, providing a potential full agroecological picture.

In Pakistan, there was no specific mention of agroecology as such, but of agroecological approaches such as organic agriculture, conservation agriculture, integrated cropping, and agroforestry.

Agroecology in these countries also benefits from a growing awareness and practice of key aspects such as local seed management, biological control of pests, decrease in the use of agrochemicals and increase of fertilization with organic fertilizers, oriented to native crops of high nutritional value at the level of family and community. Soil fertility, soil erosion, recycling of nutrients, drought and temperature stress were among the prominent farming constraints noted.

Approximately 50% of the analysed papers report a positive contribution of agroecological practices to food security, either direct or indirect, mostly due to improved yields, improved resilience, enhanced diversification of production, and better economic situation of producers. Overall, agroecology contribution to food security in these regions needs to be further investigated. In fact, most country reports lack of quantifiable data and direct measurement of the relationship between the use of agroecological practices and food security.

The availability of useful publications was limited for several countries. In particular, few resources were available to evaluate the impact of agroecology in Gambia (4 publications) and Burundi (5 publications). More pertinent literature was available to inform analysis for the other countries, though often agroecology was not specifically addressed or recognized as farming approach and/or practice, but traditional, small-farmers, family farming, organic and ecological agriculture, or agroforestry were mentioned as corresponding to agroecological principles and practices, along with other definitions.