Theme 5. Developing tools for more productive, ecologically robust cropping systems

Rural households in developing regions often grow RTB with few inputs beyond their own labor, land, and rainfall. What they produce is mostly used for subsistence consumption. However, market-oriented production opportunities are expanding, and traditional strategies to maintain crop and land productivity are increasingly complemented with purchased fertilizers and, in some cases, irrigation, especially for potatoes and bananas.

The objective of Theme 5 is to develop decision-support tools for more productive, less vulnerable, and more resilient RTB crop systems. Furthermore, it will focus on the development of tools to facilitate more efficient integration of different management practices that improve yields and quality and reduce environmental degradation and risks to human health.

The integration of crop management to overcome biotic and abiotic constraints will be validated and improved through an assessment of current on-farm practices and farmer participatory experiments involving partner organizations.

Product portfolios will focus on:

  • Ecological and physiological understanding of RTB crops and cropping systems
  • Increasing productivity in RTB cropping systems through nutrient/water/light management practices
  • Integrated decision and management tools for RTB crops

The figure below  shows the impact pathway proposed for Theme 5.