Research pages

Experience from development projects show that with the right management, organic farming may result in significant increases in yields and, therefore, organic agriculture and food systems could be a sustainable way to make smallholder farming both more productive and more profitable and thus contribute substantially to improved food security, livelihoods and natural resource management.

There is a need for research to - on the one hand - further develop agro-ecological methods for farming systems intensification based on sustainable natural resource management, and - on the other hand – study how to organise organic high value chains to connect smallholder farmers with consumers with low costs and risks. 

Studies were conducted under ProGrOV by 9 PhD students and 10 MSc students within four themes:

  • Soil fertility
  • Pest and weed management
  • Integration of livestock
  • Governance of organic value chains

The specific innovations tested or developed in different locations ProGrOV has demonstrated the potential for improving organic production of high quality crops for different markets through agroecological practices in organic systems. Integration of organic dairy production in the organic smallholder cropping systems has however proven to less promising than expected. The limited production in individual smallholder farm units, do not seem to be sufficient to carry the efforts needed for organizing sufficient organic fodder supply and the development of systems to promote animal health.

The need for strengthening the research capacity and development of agroecological practices can be met in cross-disciplinary consortia between universities and stakeholder organizations by engaging students and scientists in participatory research in farmers’ fields. 

Read more on findings and conclusions in the policy brief.