Bringing ISFM to scale through an integrated farm planning approach: a case study from Burundi

A. Kessler*, N. van Duivenbooden, F. Nsabimana, C.L. van Beek

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Integrated soil fertility management (ISFM) is generally accepted as the most relevant paradigm for soil fertility improvement in the tropics. Successes however are mainly reported at plot level, while real impact at farm level and beyond remains scattered. As a consequence, many Sub-Saharan African countries continue experiencing soil nutrient mining and insecure and insufficient agricultural production. Since technology-driven projects at the plot level failed to bring ISFM to scale, a different approach is needed. This paper describes a bottom-up approach developed in Burundi, the ‘‘PIP approach’’. It starts at farmer family level with the creation of an integrated farm plan (Plan Inte´gre´ de Paysan in French—PIP) and aims at wide-scale spreading of intensification based on concepts of ISFM. As such, and once firmly embedded in and supported by village or district plans, agriculture becomes a business rather than a default activity inherited by parents, and ISFM an intrinsic aspect of farm management. In this paper the PIP approach as currently being implemented in Burundi is explained and discussed, with special reference to soil fertility management and some preliminary promising results.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-261
JournalNutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Burundi
  • Integrated farm planning
  • ISFM
  • Participatory approaches
  • Scaling-up


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