Ecological intensification means designing more productive, sustainable production systems that save on inputs and are less harmful to the environment. It also means developing varieties better suited to their environment, and inventing new pest and disease control techniques. Lastly, it means understanding how nature functions so as to exploit its resources without destroying it, producing more, and breaking with practices based on excessive, massive use of pesticides, chemical fertilizers, water and fossil fuels.
What varieties are needed to overcome pests and diseases and make optimum use of limited water resources?
- Studying the interactions between crops, pests and diseases, and how model plants such as rice, sorghum and eucalyptus adapt to drought and climate change.
- Reviewing varietal choices and field operating practices, with all the players concerned.
How can we develop production systems that take account of local knowledge, fit seamlessly into their environment and satisfy consumer requirements?
- Understanding the interactions between the biotic and abiotic factors of ecosystems.
- Making better use of biodiversity.
- Taking account of product quality, ecological services, co-product added value and market expectations.
How do plants interact with micro-organisms and pests?
- Knowing and making use of the symbioses between plants and micro-organisms with a positive effect on soil fertility.
- Studying pest populations so as to anticipate the risks of emergence and re-emergence of epidemic diseases.
What tools can be used to make the appropriate technical choices?
- Assessing the immediate effects of practices: interactions between plants, protection against diseases, better use of the environment through resource sharing.
- Assessing the long-term effects on biological, social, economic and territorial change.
- Modelling performance and technical choices to provide decision support.
How can we foster innovation based on these new principles within the agricultural sector?
- Taking account of how production and public or private support policies and services are organized, so as to boost the flexibility and adaptability of production systems and support innovation processes
One of the Priority line of Research of CIRAD: Agricultral Research for Development
CIRAD: Agricultral Research for Development