Low External Input Sustainable Agriculture

“Impact studies are crucial for the amplification of agroecology”

Teaching students how to use the A frame to mark contours on a hill side in Chiloe, Chile.

Clara Nicholls is the president of the Latin American Scientific Society of Agroecology (SOCLA). For over three decades, she has worked in Latin America engaged in agroecology teaching and research, promoting agroecological alternatives to industrial agriculture and providing technical advise to a number of peasant organisations involved in agroecology in the region. In this interview […]

Knowledge exchange on agroecology – Does it influence practice?

Nandish, a farmer who adopts LEISA practices

In agroecology, farmers solve their problems adopting practices relying on judgments based on their local conditions, resources and knowledge levels. Farmers continuously learn developing better farming methods, and hence, knowledge becomes central in agro ecology. It was in early eightees that a silent revolution towards eco friendly agriculture started in India. Disappointed with the conventional, […]

How peasants read their farm

Farmer market in Rome

Whereas yield increases are considered central in modernised agriculture, they can be seen as just one element of impact in peasant farming. In assessing their farms, peasants depart from the specificities of their farm, the ecosystem in which it is embedded, the society and the markets in which they operate, and the possibilities and limitations […]

Farm to Systems – Where is our measuring tape?

An integrated rice field near Ranchi

Besides yield, nutrition and income, a family farmer harvests several other benefits from an agroecologically designed farm. So, we need to have a different set of parameters to capture impact of an agro-ecological system. Measuring the impacts of agro ecology over several parameters of different kind has encouraged farmers in India, Nepal and Bangladesh to […]

Past for the present

Mixed cropping being practiced in the homestead

Revival of agro biodiversity that characterizes traditional agriculture is crucial for addressing food and nutrition security. Bringing back millets, pulses, coarse cereals etc. into the cropping systems can help fill the nutritional gap that is ever widening in the present rural communities.  Chandan’s grandmother is surprised to find her ten-year old grandson carefully taking down the recipe of  […]

Hidden harvests


There are certain crop plants that are not cropped but edible, containing high nutrients and medicinal value. These crops also called as hidden harvests are capable of providing essential nutrients to our diets besides contributing to household income. Out of the 12,000 edible plants in the world, a mere fifteen crops provide 90% of the […]

Valuing un-cultivated foods

Forest foods form a significant part of the tribal household diet

Commodification of forests in an era of climate crisis has reduced them to mere ‘carbon stocks’. Forests are also food reservoirs and many rural poor communities depend on forests for meeting their food needs. Given the right support, uncultivated foods can be a solution for addressing the issue of food insecurity, especially in the light […]

Yam on terrace walls

Harvest ready for the market

Yam has several nutritional benefits, yet the crop remains neglected and underutilized. In the absence of national research and extension programmes on yam, LIBIRD’s initiative to promote yam cultivation on terrace walls has caught up with the Chepang communities in Nepal. The Chepang are an indigenous community belonging to Tibeto-Burmese family, mainly inhabiting the mountain […]

Enhancing crop diversity leads to farm resilience

Participatory varietal selection resulted in greater diversity

Monocropping of cash crops for generating incomes has displaced mixed farming systems and associated local crop diversity, negatively impacting on food security and climate resilience. Initiatives to produce improved varieties through participatory varietal selection, intercropping trials with pulses and millets and promoting local millet seed production through community seed banks have made farming more resilient […]


Mariam Mayet

Traditional crops … the basis of our food and farming systems Mariam Mayet is the director of the African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB). In a recent report, ACB turns their attention towards genetic modification of non-commercial ‘orphan crops’ and the way this technology is replacing farmer managed food systems. In this interview Mariam explains what […]