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Levers for the agroecological transition of tropical agriculture

Côte F.X., Rapidel B., Sourisseau J.M., Affholder F., Andrieu N., Bessou C., Caron P., Deguine J.P., Faure G., Hainzelin E., Malézieux E., Poirier-Magona E., Roudier P., Scopel E., Tixier P., Toillier A., Perret S.. 2022. Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 42 (4) : 11 p..

DOI: 10.1007/s13593-022-00799-z

To promote greater sustainability in agriculture, development of agroecology is increasingly being invoked. What are the conditions for establishing agroecological production in tropical regions? Based upon case studies in several tropical areas, we provide here some answers to this question. We review the ¿pillars¿ (i.e. principles) and the ¿implementation levers¿ (i.e., tools) for the development of agroecology. We identify three main pillars: (1) the mobilization and management of ecological processes for the sustainable production and the resilience of agroecosystems; (2) the development of interactions between technical, social, environmental, and institutional components of agroecosystems for a holistic approach to agroecology; and (3) the scaling up of agroecology that takes place with a plurality of actions and pathways at different organization levels rather than an increase in resources and a replication of standardized technical processes. To implement these three pillars, we identify 11 main bio-technical, cognitive, socio-political, and organizational levers. Bio-technical levers include those for (1) mobilizing complementarity between crop species to optimize natural resources use, (2) mobilizing functional biodiversity at the plot scale to optimize natural regulation of pests and diseases, (3) managing biodiversity at landscape and territorial scales, (4) increasing the efficiency of biogeochemical cycles, and (5) renewing targets for genetic improvement. Cognitive, socio-political, and organizational levers include those for (6) political and institutional action at the national and global level, (7) action at the local level to support producers, (8) political and organizational action at the territorial level, (9) the marketing and the development of new agri-chains, (10) the development of new methods for evaluating production systems, and (11) the recognition of the values of gender and generation within families and other organisational levels. This paper provides an overall orientation for the agroecological transition in tropical agriculture and also considers the socio-political context that underlies this transition.

Mots-clés : agroécologie; agriculture durable; agriculture tropicale; agroécosystème; système de culture; développement agricole; politique agricole; conservation de la diversité biologique; zone tropicale; transition agroécologique

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