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Systems Science at the Scale of Impact

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This chapter discusses agricultural systems research at the scale needed to address the aspirations of the first two Sustainable Development Goals to end world poverty and hunger. Despite the effectiveness of systems research in agricultural development, particularly relating to smallholders, the vast majority of agricultural research for development does not explicitly follow a systems approach, although some techniques such as systems modelling, are widespread. For many smallholder farmers, the 'cropping system' concept is not a useful starting point for agricultural improvement because the crop field is not a system in its own right but one component of a more complex livelihood system. The contextual factors that condition the suitability of agricultural innovations vary with location and with the type of innovation. It is clear that to make impact at scale, research needs to be conducted at scale, so that understanding can be developed about which options are relevant to what contexts.

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    Sinclair F L




    farming systems, research, agriculture, food security

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